Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Nature’s mood rings: how chameleons really change colour

4 minutes

How chameleons change colours not to blend in, but for nearly opposite reasons

It’s common lore that chameleons change their colours to blend in with their environment and elude predators, but in reality, chameleons’ baseline earth-tones provide camouflage, while their more brilliant colours communicate their physiological state and intentions to other chameleons. These colour shifts result not from pigments as previously thought, but from changes in microscopic salt crystals in the chameleons’ skin. At the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are attempting to harness chameleon skins’ powers to create new synthetic materials.

Producer: Jason Jaacks

Website: Deep Look

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau