Animal Camouflage

Animal Camouflage

Animal Camouflage

Animal Camouflage

Excerpt

The rugged outline of a mountain peak looks like a human face; the markings on a moth show a skull and crossbones. Mere coincidences we say, and dismiss the matter as another freak of nature. But when we come across an animal that looks like a leaf or a twig, we begin to wonder. This likeness must be more than chance--it must play an important part in the animal's survival. This brings us straight to the crux of our problem: the function of outward appearances.

We have all seen insects that are the color of bark and brooding pheasant hens whose feathers seem like the fleeting shadows of their nesting ground. We may have chanced upon a moth whose only protection is the coloring that makes it resemble a wasp. Each of these animals pretends to be something it is not, and it does this in order to survive. Modern armies use camouflage to protect their soldiers, guns, ships, and military installations; the result is proof positive of the defensive value of such techniques. The reader will not be surprised then, if we tell him that our subject has played a prominent part in all discussions about the origin and the evolution of living organisms. Charles Darwin was one of the first to . . .

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