Did you know that when you get to Step 12 of the dissection of a cow's eye you will find a strange, shiny coating right behind the retina? This shiny coating is called the tapetum lucidum. Sounds like a magic spell from Harry Potter, right? Well, actually, not really.
Tapetum lucidum is a Latin phrase that means "bright tapestry." This shiny surface lining the back of the eye has special reflective properties that allow a cow to see better at night.
Besides giving animals night vision, the tapetum lucidum is also responsible for making animals' eyes ‘glow’ in the dark. If you have an adventurous cat or have seen any pesky raccoons digging through your trash at night, you know what I mean. So, I guess tapetum lucidum is kind of magical after all.
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Joe Manning is a Colorado public school teacher with a background in 3rd-12th grade education. He has helped hundreds of students achieve their learning goals both online and off, and he is excited to find smarter ways to help hundreds more do even better.