Science2 - 00095

Science2 - 00095 - Untitled about seven inches in the...

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Untitled about seven inches in the common chameleon. Their hands and feet are split so that they grip the branches firmly, and the prehensile tail rivals a monkey's. When they wish they can make themselves very slim, contracting the body from side to side, so that they are not very readily seen. In other circumstances, however, they do not practise self-effacement, but the very reverse. They inflate their bodies, having not only large lungs, but air-sacs in connection with them. The throat bulges; the body sways from side to side; and the creature expresses its sentiments in a hiss. The power of colour-change is very remarkable, and depends partly on the contraction and expansion of the colour-cells (chromatophores) in the under-skin (or dermis) and partly on close-packed refractive granules and crystals of a waste-product called guanin. The repertory of possible colours in the common chameleon is greater than in any other animal except the Asop prawn. There is a legend of a chameleon which was brown in a brown box, green in a green
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