Antarctica landscape from above.
Our world shimmers in all colors. The animals use colors to warn and camouflage themselves or to attract a mate. But how did our earth become colorful? The answer comes from color researcher Axel Buether from the University of Wuppertal.

Our world was not always colorful. After all, colors need someone who can perceive them. Therefore, the development of colors begins with the development of life on our earth. The first color-sensitive life forms were primitive cyanobacteria, which we know today as blue-green algae. They already had the ability to photosynthesize almost 3.5 billion years ago and consciously seek out light. From these tender beginnings, our Earth developed into the most colorful planet in the solar system over the following millions of years. The other celestial bodies are rather monochrome.

A color spectrum that is very similar to today’s can be traced back to the Carboniferous period – 350 to 298 million years ago. No wonder: this period also sees a veritable explosion in biodiversity. For example, giant dragonflies and millipedes emerged, as well as the first reptiles and amphibians. This close connection between species richness and color diversity is explained by the diverse functions that colors fulfill in nature. The more complex life is, the more colors it needs. Animals use a large part of their neuronal capacity for the perception of colors. For us humans, the figure is around 60 to 70 percent.

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