Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Giant Pandas See In Color

Date:
October 15, 2006
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
They may be black and white, but new research at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Zoo Atlanta shows that giant pandas can see in color. Graduate researcher Angela Kelling tested the ability of two Zoo Atlanta pandas, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, to see color and found that both pandas were able to discriminate between colors and various shades of gray. The research is published in the journal Learning and Behavior, volume 34 issue 2.

Research at Georgia Tech and Zoo Atlanta shows that giant pandas can distinguish between color and various shades of gray.
Credit: Image courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology

They may be black and white, but new research at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Zoo Atlanta shows that giant pandas can see in color. Graduate researcher Angela Kelling tested the ability of two Zoo Atlanta pandas, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, to see color and found that both pandas were able to discriminate between colors and various shades of gray. The research is published in the psychology journal Learning and Behavior, volume 34 issue 2.

Related Articles


“My study shows that giant pandas have some sort of color vision,” said Kelling, graduate student in Georgia Tech’s Center for Conservation Behavior in the School of Psychology. “Most likely, their vision is dichromatic, since that seems to be the trend for carnivores.”

Vision is not a well-studied aspect of bears, including the giant pandas. It has long been thought that bears have poor vision, perhaps, Kelling said, because they have such excellent senses of smell and hearing. Some experts have thought that bears must have some sort of color vision as it would help them in identifying edible plants from the inedible ones, although there’s been little experimental evidence of this. However, one experiment on black bears found some evidence that bears could tell blue from gray and green from gray. Kelling used this study’s design as the basis to test color vision in Zoo Atlanta’s giant pandas.

Over a two-year period, Kelling investigated whether giant pandas can tell the difference between colors and shades of gray. In separate tests, the two pandas (Lun Lun, the female, and Yang Yang, the male) were presented with three PVC pipes, two hanging under a piece of paper that contained one of 18 shades of gray and one that contained a color – red, green or blue. If the panda pushed the pipe located under a color, it received a reward. If it pushed one of the pipes under the gray paper, it received nothing.

Kelling tested each color separately against gray. In the green versus gray tests, the bears’ performance in choosing green was variable, but mostly above chance. In the red versus gray tests, both bears performed above chance every single time. Only Lun Lun completed the blue versus green tests because Yang Yang had a tooth problem that prevented him from eating the treats used as reinforcement. For this trial, Lun Lun performed below chance only once.

“While this study shows that giant pandas have some color vision, it wasn’t conclusive as to what level of color vision they have,” said Kelling. “From this study, we can’t tell if the pandas can tell the difference between the colors themselves, like red from blue, or blue from green. But we can see that they can determine if something is gray or colored. That ability and the accompanying visual acuity could lead to the pandas being better able to forage for bamboo. For instance, to determine whether to head for a bamboo patch that is healthy and colorful as opposed to one that is brown and dying.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Giant Pandas See In Color." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061013201943.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2006, October 15). Giant Pandas See In Color. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061013201943.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Giant Pandas See In Color." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061013201943.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins