Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius of Nature’s Palette
Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius of Nature’s Palette


Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius of Nature’s Palette

Macquarie alumnus Professor Andrew Parker (PhD 1996) has recently revised and updated international bestseller Seven Deadly Colours: The Genius of Nature’s Palette.

The book uses vivid examples to demonstrate the vital role played by colour in the struggle for life, as well as the variety of methods of producing colour that have evolved in nature, and their implications for animal lifestyles.

Today, Dr Parker is a zoologist and Professor at the Natural History Museum in London, which published the book.

It shows how, for both animal predators and their prey, colour constantly fools and misleads eyes, and has led to surprising adaptations in both animals and plants seeking to avoid being eaten.

He also extends the reader’s understanding of evolution itself – and resolves a quandary that puzzled Charles Darwin.

‘To suppose that the eye …should have formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree’ — wrote Darwin in On the Origin of Species. The eye’s ‘perfection’, he found, was the one problem he could not resolve with his theory of evolution by natural selection: no intermediate stages between a non-eye and a working eye seemed possible. But was he right?

By taking the colours of the spectrum as the keys to the natural world, Professor Parker shows us that Darwin in fact had no reason to worry, and that Nature’s palette is a far more miraculous thing than we had previously imagined.

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