Predicting the unseen — The Movie

November 6th, 2023

The scales of an ocellated lizard switch between black and green as the lizard matures, before settling on a labyrinthine pattern. Using Alan Turing’s Reaction-Diffusion (RD) framework, we discovered that the seemingly binary configurations of scales hide a secondary pattern based on color gradations too subtle to see with the naked eye.Our study shows that biology, despite its ‘messy’ nature, with its unmanageable profusion of cellular and molecular variables, can be efficiently and quantitatively investigated mathematically, including with simple phenomenological models.

Check below a short movie summarising our results for the non-specialist. 3D and edition of the movie is by Fabrice Berger.

Additional information is provided in the original article

Simple reaction-diffusion modelling predicts inconspicuous neighbourhood-dependent colour sub-clustering of lizard scales
Szabolcs Zakany & Michel C. Milinkovitch*
Physical Review X 13, 041011 (2023)