As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Nature's unique way of controlling color explains why birds never go gray


Date:December 21, 2015
Source:University of Sheffield

Birds use sophisticated changes to the structure of their feathers to create multi-coloured plumage, using a process that could pave the way for the creation of paints and clothing colours that won't fade over time.

Using X-ray scattering at the ESRF facility in France to examine the blue and white feathers of the Jay, researchers from the University of Sheffield found that birds demonstrate a surprising level of control and sophistication in producing colours.

Instead of simply using dyes and pigments that would fade over time, the birds use well-controlled changes to the nanostructure to create their vividly coloured feathers -- which are possibly used for Jays to recognise one another. The Jay is able to pattern these different colours along an individual feather barb -- the equivalent of having many different colours along a single human hair.

The Jay's feather, which goes from ultra violet in colour through to blue and into white, is made of a nanostructured spongy keratin material, exactly the same kind of material human hair and fingernails are made from.

No comments:

Post a comment