Mystery Solved: Why Mammals Can’t Be Green (But Maybe Blue?)

We have seen green insects, green frogs, and green birds, but why have we never seen green mammals?

After research, scientists have discovered that the reason why some insects, amphibians, and birds appear green is because they each have their own unique abilities. Some can synthesize green pigment by themselves, such as mantises, caterpillars, etc., and some use the diffraction of light. For example, the body color of a frog is formed by three layers of pigment cells arranged in the skin. The iris cells, the pigment cells in the middle layer, can diffract blue light and then filter it through the outermost yellow pigment cells, forming green. The feather color of parrots is mainly composed of parrot pigments, structural colors and melanin. It relies on its special microscopic diffraction feather structure, combined with the yellow parrot pigment present in the epidermis of feathers, to finally show green feathers.

And these unique abilities are not possessed by mammals. First, there is no green pigment in mammalian hair, only black and red and yellow pigments. The mixture of these two pigments cannot form green. second. Even if mammals can use diffraction cells on their skin to diffract light like frogs and chameleons, it will be covered by hair, and hair has no special structure to diffract, so it cannot appear green. At the same time, mammals do not need to change their body color to hide themselves or warn other predators like insects, amphibians, and birds. Mammals generally protect themselves and reproduce by digging caves, building nests, working in teams, etc. .

In addition, almost all mammals are color blind, and their world is dark. This is not because there is something wrong with their eyes, but because their ancestors lived in darkness for millions of years.

Imagine that the ancestors of mammals lived in dark caves or underground. Their lives were full of mystery and danger. In order to avoid dinosaurs, they choose to move at night or in dark environments. Over time, their sense of smell became acute and they acquired night vision, but their ability to distinguish colors decreased. Most mammals cannot distinguish green, only intensity. Not only that, but a mammal’s natural enemy or prey is often another mammal, so even if a mammal evolves green, it will have little effect. Take the tiger, for example. Its orange-yellow fur may look conspicuous in the forest, but in dark environments, its presence is difficult for its prey to detect.

However, the situation is very different now. Many mammals no longer need to hide in dark places and can live in well-lit environments. In such an environment, could they evolve green?

In fact, some mammals have evolved distinctive looks. For example, among the primate mammals, the golden monkey group, the Sichuan golden monkey has a sky-blue face, while the Guizhou golden monkey has a gray-blue face.

Maybe one day in the future, we will see all kinds of “colorful” monkeys. Such changes will add more color to the world of mammals and show the infinite possibilities of life.

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