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Color Vision Drove Primates to Develop Red Skin and Hair, Study Finds

e it easier to visually compare mates. In fact, the more social the trichromats are, the more red coloring they show.

'Neuroscience research has found some evidence of a perceptual bias for more brilliant colors,' said Fernandez, an Ohio University doctoral student. 'So, it is reasonable for primates with trichromatic color vision to respond more when they see bright colors.'

So while foraging may have initially sparked red color vision, the new ability was likely 'recruited' for social purposes. 'It looks like red skin and hair became a sexual preference,' said Morris, a fish biologist who studies how physical traits such as coloring evolve through sexual selection. 'So while the benefits in terms of eating may not apply anymore, the (red-color) vision in some groups is now relevant in social terms.'


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