Chameleons

Chameleons

Perhaps one of the most unique, recognizable, colorful creatures on earth is the small reptilian chameleon.  Its ability to camouflage itself to its surroundings is so widely recognized that the word “chameleon” has entered the dictionary in reference to a person who readily changes who they are to fit themselves into a situation.  However, there is a lot more to chameleons than simply camouflage. This article will discuss chameleons, their features and how they fit into the origins debate.

Chameleons are small lizards found in the Old World regions of Africa and Asia and Southern Europe.  There are over two hundred known species. For a while, a chameleon held the distinction of being the worlds smallest reptile. Some species of chameleon can get as large as two feet.  They have very unique eyes. Because the upper and lower eyelids are joined, the eyes can only see through a pinhole.  This essentially serves as a focusing tool and, since both eyes operate independent of one another, chameleons can observe two objects independently.  Because their eyes are located at the sides of their heads, chameleons have three hundred sixty degree vision. Sneaking up on a chameleon is nearly impossible. Chameleons actually have the highest rate of magnification by body size of all vertebrate creatures.   They lack visible ears but can still hear some sounds frequencies.  Because of their strong eyesight, chameleons are excellent hunters.

Chameleon diets consist mainly of insects though larger ones will also actively hunt small birds. To capture their prey, chameleons rely on long sticky tongues that they can fire from their mouths with incredible force and accuracy. Chameleon tongues can be as long as twice their body length and, when fired, can reach their targets in as little as 0.07 seconds. This incredibly short time, along with the chameleon’s exceptional vision, gives their targets little to no chance of escape. However, the explosive force of the tongue would not be enough were it not another specialized feature of the tongue. The tips of chameleon tongues are sticky.  They secrete a glue like substance that causes insects and occasionally small birds to adhere to the tongue. The chameleon’s tongue then recoils into the lizard’s mouth and the unfortunate victim becomes a meal for the lizard.  Chameleons can also use their tail to hang from branches and climb, making them even more adept at hunting their prey and moving around the trees.

Most chameleons are oviparous, meaning that they lay eggs which will hatch within a few months into mini adult chameleons. These eggs are usually buried in the ground. Some few species are ovoviviparous, meaning that they fertilize their eggs internally. The young then grow and develop in the eggs until they hatch, at which point they are birthed into the outside world as live young. Most chameleons are sexually dimorphic. Often the males are larger and more ornate than the females.

Because they are not large lizards, most chameleons do have predators. To avoid them, and to hide from their prey, chameleons are equipped with one of the most unique, innovative camouflage systems found in the animal kingdom. Humanity is still struggling to get a grasp on how chameleons can camouflage themselves so easily. However some things are known. Chameleon colors are based on specialized skin cells called melanophores. These melanophores contain pigments.  These cells on their own would give the chameleon color but not allow it to be changeable.  The reason chameleons can change color at will comes from another specialized cell type called a guanine crystal. The system works due to a specialized skin. Chameleon skin has four layers, the bottom three of which contain melanophores for certain pigments. Beneath these layers are the guanine crystals. The process is regulated by the chameleon’s nervous system, just as its heart and breathing are.  By adjusting the location of the guanine crystals, chameleons also adjust the location of the melanophores, which changes the way light reflects off the pigments. This essentially allows the chameleon to change color whenever it wants to do so.  Chameleons do not just use this ability for camouflage. Males use it to attract mates, and all chameleons use it for maintaining body temperature and expressing their mood.

Evolution has a lot of problems with chameleons. The most obvious one comes from the camouflage technique. Evolutionists must explain the origin of the guanine crystals, the three layers of melanophores, their connection to the central nervous system, and now a chameleons tiny brain knows when to tell the skin to change color. They have no explanation for any of those items.  Even if all four could be explained, evolutionists must still explain how a mindless, blind process just happened to drop all four in the same creature at the same time so that the system would work. Apart, all four features have no use.  Only linked together do they work, but evolutionary processes would not know this, yet somehow still by blind luck linked the four together. That takes more faith to believe than simply saying God did it.

Camouflage is not the only problem evolutionists must face from chameleons. They must explain its method of hunting. Firing a sticky tongue from a creatures mouth at close to thirteen miles an hour takes careful engineering. Yet the process of evolution does not have an engineering degree, nor does it have a mind to conceive of needing one. Evolutionists expect us to take on blind faith their assertions that chameleon’s evolved, despite the complexity involved. Evolution must explain how a chameleon can fire its tongue out with unerring accuracy. It must explain why there is room in the chameleon for a tongue twice as long as its body. It must explain why the chameleon tongue sticks to its target, but not the inside of the chameleons mouth. It must explain how a chameleon can recoil its tongue. It must have ready answers not just for why these things work, but where they came from and why they all appear to fit together so well. No blind process could cause the chameleon’s mouth and tongue to evolve.  It had to be designed.  Chameleons stand in defiance of evolutionary dogma and flick their tongues at evolutionary arguments.

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