School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Why is Rudolp's nose red?

Roses are Red and Violets are Blue, but Why?

It's a colorful world out there and Dr. Biology checks into the reason we see color and how animals use color. Listen in as Dr. Biology talks with Kevin McGraw, animal behavior biologist in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 11MB

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Topic Time
What is color? 00:57
Why makes something a certain color -  why is a green leaf green or the sky blue? 01:34
A simple experiment/observation using milk. 02:59
How do human and other animals see color? (rods and cones) 03:40
Color sensation and perception 05:00
Another experiment/observation to try at night to test color vision. 05:32
Do animals see the same colors as humans or even see color? 05:49
How do we know animals see color? 06:47
Color and birds - the role of color. 08:24
Do animals use color for the same purpose? 09:09
Color as a warning - the story of the Pitohui bird from New Guinea. 10:10
The color "red." 11:24
The color "red" and sports. 12:26
Less colored birds - does color play a role for them? 13:05
Work done on donated and borrowed feathers. 14:28
Do you have a favorite parrot or bird? 14:57
The story of the Budgerigars - Budgies  parrot 15:22
Do you have a favorite color? 17:09
When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 17:32
What would you be if you were not a biologist? 18:37
What advice do you have for young scientists? 19:34
Books by Kevin McGraw - Bird Coloration -Volume 1 & Volume 2 21:01
Read more about color - Seeing Color  

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Roses are Red and Violets are Blue, but Why?

Audio editor: Charles Kazilek

Kevin McGraw looking through binoculars

Kevin McGraw looks for birds through his binoculars.

Learn more about the importance of coloration in the animal world in our story Nature's Colors of Love.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Kevin McGraw looking through binoculars

Kevin McGraw looks for birds through his binoculars.

Learn more about the importance of coloration in the animal world in our story Nature's Colors of Love.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.