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Re: Colored skin continued.



Shannon-Salisbury State University:What

>What kind of eye sight do elephants have? Color or black and white?

Most mammals have at least some, residual, color vision, though
few can see as many colors as humans and what they do see is very
muted, requiring a lot of saturation in order to be percieved.
Experiments have shown this in dogs and cats, I would presume
elephants aren't too far off.  However, for all intents and
purposes, it's close enough to monochrome that someone who
asserted that would not be too far off in most cases.

>Is skin color connected to eye sight?

Yes and no.  Animals without color vision can still be colorful
- the giraffe is quite colorful for a large mammal, as someone
else pointed out earlier, and it is not likely to have much more
color in its vision than an elephant.  But that coloring means
nothing _to_the_giraffe_.  Elephants have been spotted that were
brick red from clay and dust from wallowing that were treated no
differently from any other elephant by their fellows. However, if
an animal is colorful in a certain way - specifically in some way
that seems to be a sexual display - it does tend to imply the
animal has color vision, else the coloring would serve no purpose.
So there is a sort of relationship, but it goes only one way, and
has provisos.

If we find a duckbill mummy with pigmentation cells in good enough
shape to tell that the crest was brightly patterned, this is good
circumstantial evidence of a sexual display, and would imply color
vision.  If it turns out to be just camouflage colors, or an in-
determinate gray like an elephant - then it is good circumstantial
evidence that it did not have color vision.  But I don't think it
is totally definitive, nor does it tell us if the vision was truly
monochrome or simply low-color, as with most mammals.

regards,
Larry Smith