CMPS272, Winter 2007, Section 01: AnimalCamouflage

The pigment cells on the skin of a developing mammal serve as a simple two dimensional CA. Each pigment cell can be in either an "on" state or an "off" state. Most of the cells are initially in the off state, though there are a few "on" cells serving as nodes. The on cells release two types of signaling factors, one that turns nearby pigment cells on, and another that turns more distant cells off. The relationship between the strengths of the two signalling factors determines how big the spots can get, and whether they are likely to merge. This provides a simple mechanism that could account for a variety of kinds of spots found on big cats (stripes require signals that diffuse eliptically.)

* W is the concentration of the "off" signal relative to that of the "on" signal:


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