Science: Beastly Behavior

Most animals are color blind. The matador's cape is bright red only for the human actors and audience; the bull would be even more enraged by a pure white one. Even among animals which can distinguish color, notably fish and birds, brilliant markings do not influence the female's choice of a mate. They serve primarily to intimidate other males. The barnyard turkey's puffing and strutting are intended to advertise his dominance, maintain his social position, defend his territory. The female turkey responds to bluff, not beauty.

These are some of the conclusions about...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!