|Vol. 2, No. 3||Page 4||March 2000|
The Chameleon’s Kaleidoscope
The chameleon is one of the world’s truly unique creatures. It has jointed grasping feet, a prehensile tail, a tongue that can be catapulted out to a length as long as its own body, and eyes set in turrets operating independently of each other. It also has the ability to change colors to match its background. The chameleon’s ability to match the plants around it is made possible by four layers of skin each containing a different light reflecting substance. The lower layer where the melanophores are located is the most complex. Melanophores are cells that contain the pigment “melanin” and have long tentacle like extensions that move up through the upper light reflecting layers. To change the color of the skin, the color cells alter in size, and by variation of the amounts of yellow, red, and dark brown, different colors are produced by a mixing effect. The light reflecting layers also help alter and vary the hue and tint. How the chameleon is able to know that he has matched perfectly the color and pattern of its environment without a mirror to check out his arrangement of pigments is remarkable.
The length of this article does not permit us to continue looking at the chameleon’s other uniquely designed features, but they do show a distinct plan for this animal, and if there is a plan then there has to be a Planner!!
The Tongue Of The Chameleon
There are two mechanisms operated by the powerful muscles that throw the tongue forward. At the back of the chameleon’s jaw lies a V-shaped bone with the point of the “V” facing backward. Attached to this bone, by a flexible joint, is the tongue bone over which the tongue fits like a glove on a finger. When the chameleon is about to shoot out its tongue, the V-bone is moved forward slightly to push the tip of the tongue out of the mouth. The circular muscles in the thick tip of the tongue then contract violently so that the tongue is forced out of the mouth. This violent, simultaneous, contraction of the circular muscle and relaxation of the longitudinal muscle allows the tongue to reach a length equal to the body length of the chameleon. In addition, the V-shaped bone is thrust farther out for added impetus to the tongue’s throw. The time required for this to occur is 1/16 of a second to extend the tongue, and 1/4 of a second to retract it. While sticky saliva on the end of the chameleon’s tongue causes its prey to become stuck, the tongue can also be used to grasp the insect.
The fossil record does not give any evidence of transition structures to support gradual evolution. Indeed, the tongue of the chameleon shows evidence of the Creator.
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