No One Could See Blue Until Modern Times. For Realsies.

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Researchers have concluded that the color blue is a relatively new phenomenon in human history and evolution.

Language historian Lazarus Geiger points out that “blue” is the last color to be named in languages as varied as Japanese, Hebrew, and Greek. The color is never even mentioned in Homer’s epic “The Iliad”.

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So is it possible that people don’t recognize a color without a word for it?

A test done with the Himba tribe of Nimibia seems to make a case that you can’t.

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When asked which of these squares was different, most people could not do so or took a very long time to recognize the blue square was different at all.

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But their language contains many words for different shades of green and they were quickly able to recognize which of these squares is different.

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Hint: It’s the one in the upper right corner. So does language drive this or does evolution?