Colorful Primates Don’t Have Better Color Vision: Study

    Better Color Vision
    Inam Ansari
    September22/ 2023

    Washington: Researchers found that red skin and/or red-orange fur may be advantageous for use in social communication even in primate species with poor colour vision. The findings were published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. It has long been considered that monkeys' colourful skin and fur are related to their heightened colour vision, and the findings could help explain why these qualities exist in diverse species. Lead author Robert MacDonald from the University of Bristol explained, “There is a profusion of colour in the animal kingdom - think of the striking feathers of a bird of paradise or the array of vivid hues on display in a coral reef. Mammals, though, don't tend to be so colourful, and are usually quite muted shades of black, brown, or grey.” “Primates such as monkeys, apes and lemurs are the exception to this. Several primate species have really vibrant colouration, in particular bright red skin on the face or anogenital region which can change the intensity to signal things like fertility or rank in the dominance hierarchy, or red-orange fur. “Primates also happen to have unusually good colour vision in comparison to other mammals; while all other mammals are red-green colourblind, meaning red and green appear as the same colour to them, some primates (including humans) can differentiate between shades of red and green. This enhanced colour visual system is generally thought to have evolved in order to more easily spot ripe red fruit or nutritious young red leaves among the foliage, but it also makes it easier to spot the vibrant red colours that some primates exhibit.” Primates are known to use their red colour traits for communication with other members of their species, for example in signalling info ...

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