Dr. Keith DevlinJanuary 2009
"Why are there Animals with Spotted Bodies and Striped Tails, but No Animal with a Striped Body and a Spotted Tail?"

An interactive session led by Dr. Keith Devlin

Executive director of Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information, and a consulting Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University



Animals come in many colors and have a wide variety of coat patterns. In general, their coat colorations have evolved to help them to survive - for example, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings, scare away predators, or attract mates. But what determines the specific coat pattern that will develop on a growing animal? The surprising answer is mathematics. While this "geometry of living things" is fairly new to us, it has been part of nature for millions of years.

Dr. Keith Devlin led the inaugural KTU interactive session. He is National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition commentator (known as "The Math Guy"), the executive director of Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information, and a consulting Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University. He has published many books and articles on mathematics and how mathematics relates to the everyday world.