Chameleons of Madagascar migrated from Africa

A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that the color-changing chameleons of Madagascar actually migrated from the African mainland around 65 million years ago.

Researchers analyzed the genes of 174 species of chameleon to come to their conclusions.

These researchers found that chameleons crossed over from Africa 65 million years ago.  They then crossed again 17 million years later at 48 million years ago.

It is thought that both times the chameleons crossed as the other species who migrated, by catching a ride on floating debris traveling down the African river system.

Parson’s chameleon in Madagascar

When the chameleons finally made it to Madagascar, the split up in tons of different species.  This allows for Madagascar to be the world hub for chameleon biodiversity.

Chameleons today come in a wide variety of colors an sizes, ranging from a specimen the size of a fingernail to the one-meter-long Parson’s chameleon.

Calumma crypticum chameleon in Madagascar

Want to learn more?  Read the full story: Madagascar’s chameleons came from African mainland

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