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Am J Primatol. 2003 Feb;59(2):67-91.

Colors of primate pelage and skin: objective assessment of conspicuousness.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


We present a quantitative means of assessing the conspicuousness of animal coats or other objects in terms of the color vision of each possible observer. We measured reflectance spectra from the fur and skin of many primate species in order to provide an objective survey of the possibilities of pelage coloration found in extant primates. We show that the orange coloration displayed by many platyrrhine and some strepsirhine primates, while being conspicuous to humans, would be cryptic amongst foliage to all males and many females of their own species. In relation to this finding, we briefly review what is known of the color vision of birds that prey on primates, and assess how conspicuous the orange pelage would be to these predators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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