Got the Blues? | God's World News
Got the Blues?
Science Soup
Posted: July 01, 2024
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    Fewer than one in 10 flowers appear blue naturally. (AP/Bikas Das)
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    Butterfly wings are made up of tiny scales. The scales have even smaller structures that reflect wavelengths of light, like blue! (123RF; inset: AP)
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    Blue poison dart frogs are one of the few truly blue animals in nature. (123RF)
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    Unlike many other ancient peoples, the ancient Egyptians had a word for blue and used blue pigments. (Public domain via the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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    Egyptians heated a mixture of sand, lime, sodium carbonate, and copper compound to form lumps of blue. They ground the lumps into pigment. The Egyptian paint palette on the right is more than 3,000 years old! (Public domain via the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

But nothing else is blue—

well, almost nothing.

Do you ever wonder why God picked the colors He did for the world? Trees are green. Foxes are orange or gray. Bees are yellow and black. Peach blossoms are pink. But what animals and plants are blue?

Not many. Fewer than one in 10 flowers appear blue naturally. And we mean appear. Blue isn’t their true color. Though God created some flowers with the ability to look blue in certain lights (delphiniums, plumbago, bluebells, morning glories, forget-me-nots), they don’t contain blue pigment. (Pigment is stuff that adds color.) A mere trick of the light makes them appear blue when they touch air.

What about plants with blue leaves? Except for a few species on the rainforest floor, they don’t exist.

And the same goes for “blue” animals. Some butterflies look blue. But it’s because of the way tiny structures in their wings interact with light. The same phenomenon happens with bluish birds and fish. There are a few exceptions. God made olive wing butterflies and blue poison dart frogs with actual blue pigment in their bodies.

Blue by Any Other Name . . .

Did you know ancient people didn’t think about blue the same way we do? Old books such as Homer’s Odyssey mention many colors. But if you’re looking for blue, you’ll find zilch. Even though the Odyssey is a story about a journey on the ocean! Instead of blue, Homer calls the water “the wine-dark sea.”

Scholars wonder why. They’ve come up with a couple theories. One idea: Blue pigment is rare in nature. Maybe that’s why ancient people didn’t have a word for it. Except the Egyptians. They had a word for blue. But unlike other early peoples, they also used blue pigments.

The book of Exodus in the Old Testament mentions blue yarn many times. Exodus is the story of God and His people after He brought them out of Egypt. Maybe they learned about blue during the 400 years they lived there. What do you think about that?