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Re: skin decoration Vs feather decoration



dbensen wrote:
> 
> I noticed that too.  In fact smaller animals (especialy birds and reptiles) 
> are
> more colorful than larger ones.  I wonder what signifigance that has.
> 

Small animals can find shade much more easily, where even the gaudiest pattern
can blend in with the dabbled sunlight (as with rainforest birds). Larger
animals on the other hand have to endure full sun more often, since adequate
shade is not always available (especially if you're REALLY big). Perhaps large
animals tend to be dull, dark colours (such as rhinos and elephants) to provide
more protection from the sun, and because they spend less time in dabbled
sunlight (simply because the bigger you are, the less shade is available).

Compare an Okapi to a Wilderbeast. One is a gaudily patterned forest dweller,
the other a plain dark colour mostly restricted to open savanah, yet they are
both roughly the same size. I suspect in the shifting light of a rainforest you
can get away with a more brightly coloured display. In fact sometimes bright
colours broken up into rings and bands provide the best camoflauge in forest
situations. Tigers are quite conspicuous out in the open.

-- 
____________________________________________________
        Dann Pigdon
        GIS Archaeologist
        Melbourne, Australia

        Australian Dinosaurs:
        http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
        http://www.geocities.com/dannj.geo
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