While most humans are trichromatic (having three types of color receptors), many animals, known as tetrachromats, have four types. These include some species of spiders, most marsupials, birds, reptiles, and many species of fish. Other species are sensitive to only two axes of color or do not perceive color at all; these are called dichromats and monochromats respectively. A distinction is made between retinal tetrachromacy (having four pigments in cone cells in the retina, compared to three in trichromats) and functional tetrachromacy (having the ability to make enhanced color discriminations based on that retinal difference). As many as half of all women are retinal tetrachromats. :p. 256 The phenomenon arises when an individual receives two slightly different copies of the gene for either the medium- or long-wavelength cones, which are carried on the X chromosome. To have two different genes, a person must have two X chromosomes, which is why the phenomenon only occurs in women. There is one scholarly report that confirms the existence of a functional tetrachromat.
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