Did Color Vision evolve from Music?

So I'm writing up some research for work, and I suddenly had an idea hit me like a bolt of lightning.

Color vision evolved way after our ability to hear; if you look at all of our nearest neighbors and ancestors, they have worse color vision than we do.

Color vision uses groups of cells in the cortex called color globs, which map well to the HSV color cone. Human hearing relies on amplitude, frequency, and frequency relationships such as octaves and chords. These are the same relationships that you see in the HSV color cone model; colors are notes in an octave, whereas the pitch is determined by the Value part (dark to light shades).

What this means is that it's highly possible that color vision evolved from our ability to hear music; it uses the same kinds of mapping as you'd find in the auditory cortex, except instead of sound, it's color. Mind = blown. Now to do some digging and see if I'm right. Hehe... one tiny step down the road to explaining why Red is Red.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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