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GELIFES Seminars - Innes Cuthill

Wanneer:do 18-01-2018 16:00 - 17:00

Innes Cuthill (University of Bristol)

Animal camouflage - From computational neuroscience to colour in deep time

The cryptic camouflage of a stick insect and the dazzling colours of a peacock’s tail would seem to be complete opposites. However, they have a deep similarity: they are adaptations to the perception and mind of another animal: a bird. Camouflage exploits the way eyes sample only a fraction of the colours in the natural world and the mind takes shortcuts in order to reconstruct a 3D scene from the 2D image on the retina. Similarly animal signals, whether for warning or attraction, tap into biases in perception in order to persuade rather than necessarily to inform. I will use camouflage against avian predators to demonstrate how perception shapes the evolution of animal colours and behaviours and how, in turn, coloration can help us understand the minds of other species, whether present-day birds or early dinosaurs.