It’s a really interesting question, that isn’t as obvious as you might think. It’s wrapped up in the social construct of colors, and how color words emerge in languages.
Radio Lab covered this recently in one of their best podcasts I’ve ever listened to. And there is another great look at color evolution here. I especially like that we’re actually watching a color split emerge in modern Japanese language.
Given that I’ve told half a dozen people to go listen to this in the last week, it’s probably worthy of posting. Our friends at Radio Lab had a great piece a couple months back where they look at the Bible story where 7 trumpeters bring down the walls of Jericho. They ask the question, how many trumpeters would it take to bring down a wall like that? Along the way you learn quite a bit about acoustics, the science of sound.
It’s about 15 minutes and available on their website.
That’s the somewhat provocative question asked by Radio Lab this past week. Want is really a stronger term here than is used, because this is really about the fact that ideas and technology evolve in much the same way that life does. I think the parallels between convergent evolution and simultaneous discovery is one of the most fun parts of this.