A Caltech Library Service

Bare skin, blood and the evolution of primate colour vision

Changizi, Mark A. and Zhang, Qiong and Shimojo, Shinsuke (2006) Bare skin, blood and the evolution of primate colour vision. Biology Letters, 2 (2). pp. 217-221. ISSN 1744-9561. PMCID PMC1618887. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0440.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We investigate the hypothesis that colour vision in primates was selected for discriminating the spectral modulations on the skin of conspecifics, presumably for the purpose of discriminating emotional states, socio-sexual signals and threat displays. Here we show that, consistent with this hypothesis, there are two dimensions of skin spectral modulations, and trichromats but not dichromats are sensitive to each. Furthermore, the M and L cone maximum sensitivities for routine trichromats are optimized for discriminating variations in blood oxygen saturation, one of the two blood-related dimensions determining skin reflectance. We also show that, consistent with the hypothesis, trichromat primates tend to be bare faced.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Zhang, Qiong0000-0002-8762-0557
Shimojo, Shinsuke0000-0002-1290-5232
Additional Information:© 2006 The Royal Society. Received 5 December 2005. Accepted 3 January 2006. We wish to thank two helpful referees for their comments. Support for this research was given by 5F32EY015370-02, NIH (to M.A.C) and JST.ERATO, Japan (to S.S.).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship5F32EY015370-02
Japan Science and Technology AgencyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:colour; primate; evolution; skin; blood; vision
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC1618887
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200929-143506853
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Changizi Mark A, Zhang Qiong and Shimojo Shinsuke 2006 Bare skin, blood and the evolution of primate colour vision Biol. Lett. 2:217–221
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105645
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:30 Sep 2020 14:30
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page