Scientists have written that new 11 chameleon species were found hiding in plain sight in Madagascar. The discovery proves that the panther chameleon species could in fact comprise a larger number of subspecies than it was initially thought to.
Chameleons have always been of great interest to scientists as this species has the ability to turn itself invisible using thousands of nuances and colors. The disguising abilities of the reptile may still be unknown to experts as recent studies have led to the identification of more 11 chameleon species.
The newly found reptiles belong to the species of panther chameleon, scientifically known as Furcifer pardalis, which is specific for the Madagascar fauna. The most interesting aspect related to the recent discovery that scientists have made is the fact that the chameleons were hiding in plain sight.
Many more researches were carried out by Michel Milinkovitch, professor of genetics, evolution, and biophysics at the University of Geneva and his contributors in Madagascar to determine the exact characteristics of the newly found subspecies. The team of researchers had to take part in two expeditions in order to gather data for their new study.
DNA samples were withdrawn from small drops of blood belonging to the chameleons. Scientists managed to identify 324 exemplars of chameleon, whose behavior has been documented through photographs.
The snapshots that researchers have made during the expeditions have led to the inference of several important behavioral patterns. According to Milinkovitch, the chameleon species may be determined by simply taking into account the color nuances that the chameleon uses to adapt to a specific environment. The genetic lineage will most certainly make the subject of numerous future studies, as scientists think that many things are still left to be discovered.
The recently discovered 11 species of chameleon have triggered significant changes in the universal classification of reptile species. Milinkovitch believes some subspecies could account as independent species, depending on the geographical area they are found in.
Regular people may not be able to distinguish between a certain type of chameleon and other less known species. To the majority of us, the chameleon is a beautifully colored reptile that you might just as well avoid. Genetic experts, believe the new classification could help even inexperienced people distinguish between the various types of chameleon.
The aim of the study was not purely scientific as the Professor at the University of Geneva has stated. The endeavor was carried through because researchers want to draw people’s attention to the rich, yet fragile biodiversity existing in Madagascar.
The findings of the study will be published in the study Molecular Biology together with the professor’s personal opinion on the matter.
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