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New Research Proves The Way Chameleons Change Color Is Different From What Scientists Thought

New research suggests that the way chameleons change color is actually very different from what scientists had always assumed. Of course we always thought that their skin changed colors based on the environment they were in, to camouflage themselves, but have we ever really put much thought into how it happens? Probably not. And now we know that their skin doesn’t just change colors like we assumed. In this video, filmmaker and National Geographic Grantee Jason Jaacks explains that the color change is actually controlled by nanocrystal in a top layer of the lizards’ skin.

Scientists always believed that chameleons changed color by spreading out pigments in their skin. But they’ve learned that this is incorrect. The top layer of skin contains yellow and red pigment, but the amount of pigment in the cells actually stay the same, even when the chameleon changes color. Beneath the skin is a layer of salt crystals. Watch the videos below to find out what these crystals do to change the chameleons colors!

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