TRAVEL TOOLS, GREAT GADGETS & COOL STUFF TO DO
Nature’s silent tongue speaks loudly at
“The Language of Color,” a dazzling exhibit
of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks
and iridescent beetles at the Harvard
Museum of Natural History. “Don’t eat me!”
shout some colors. “Come hither,” coo
other bright hues in a flirty come-on.
With photographs and text, videos,
interactive computer displays, and even
a makeshift jungle containing a colony
of live dart-poison frogs (whose brilliant
colors remind predators that they’re unfit
to eat), the exhibit explains how animals
produce and perceive color—and why
many species change color. The chameleon, for example, uses color to express
mood or emotions, not for camouflage.
Examine bird feathers and butterfly
wings as closely as an electron microscope. See the world through the eyes of
deer, birds, fish, and whales and insects,
which are able to see large parts of the
color spectrum that are imperceptible
to humans. Learn how the scarlet ibis
lives up to its name, thanks to carotenoid
pigments in the food it eats, and ponder
research about why the zebra has stripes.
One theory posits protection against
predation: When zebras gather in groups
the dizzying array of white and black blurs
the outline of a single zebra.
Extended through March 18, “The
Language of Color” is a short walk from
the Harvard Square T station. For information and museum hours call 617-
495-3045 or go to hmnh.harvard.edu.
stars in the
of Natural History
FRI TZ RAUSCHENBACH/CORBIS