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

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