Sunday, 4 October 2015

Why Some Chameleons Are Expert Tree Climbers

by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | October 02, 2015 11:04am ET

Chameleons may be known for their impressive color-changing abilities, but these curious creatures are also expert tree climbers. Now, new research suggests that chameleons can scale trees because they have twice as many bones in their wrists and ankles when they are developing, as scientists had previously thought.

Many chameleon species are very well suited to climbing trees because of their unusual "two-toed" hands and feet, which are actually bundles of fingers and toes bound together, much like duck feet and bat wings. This arrangement helps these chameleons grip branches, instead of having to rely on claws and sticky patches of skin like other lizards do.

To learn more about how these unique features evolved, scientists analyzed embryos of the veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), a common pet reptile. Veiled-chameleon embryos take about 200 days to develop — much longer than the 60 or so days it takes other chameleon species. This slow rate of embryonic growth helped the researchers gain detailed insight into the development of the veiled chameleon's hands, feet and limbs. They compared their results with embryo development in eight other chameleon species and two nonchameleon lizards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails