• Question: Why are no mammals green??????

    Asked by hwalker08 to Katy, Nathalie, Paula on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Nathalie Pettorelli

      Nathalie Pettorelli answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Hi hwalker08,

      This is by far my favorite question – I don’t know! I asked people around, made a search on the web – and nobody has a good answer to that. This question made the whole institute think – so well done for asking this! And let me know if you found a good answer to this question 😉

    • Photo: Katy Mee

      Katy Mee answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      My friend died her hair green for Glastonbury yesterday and she’s a mammal – does that count?

      The colour of mammals, whether it be skin colour or hair/fur colour is governed by pigmentation so i presume the reason why there are no green animals is because there is no naturally occurring green pigment in mammals……but i have no idea if this is true, just a guess!

    • Photo: Paula Salgado

      Paula Salgado answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Hi hwalker

      Great questions, I’ve wondered the same… but until you asked, I never checked! 😉

      Basically it has to do with the fact that mammals have hair and that only has 2 kinds of pigments: one that produces black or brown and one that produces yellow or orange-reddish hair. If you mis those 2, you’ll never get green! 😉

      Some sloths are greenish because of fungi growing in their hair and Australian ringtail opossums have bands of black and yellow on their hair that can look a grizzled olive drab but no proper green mammals exist because of those 2 pigment combination…

      Hope that helped! 😉