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Chameleon colours 'switched by crystals'

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posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 07:06 PM
Chameleon colours 'switched by crystals'

Swiss researchers have discovered how chameleons accomplish their vivid colour changes: they rearrange the crystals inside specialised skin cells.

It was previously suggested that the reptiles' famous ability came from gathering or dispersing coloured pigments inside different cells.

But the new results put it down to a "selective mirror" made of crystals.

They also reveal a second layer of the cells that reflect near-infrared light and might help the animals keep cool.

Reptiles make colours in two ways: they have cells full of pigment for warm or dark colours, but brighter blues and whites come from light bouncing off physical elements like these crystals: so-called "structural colours".

Inside the "iridophore" cells of a relaxed chameleon (left) the crystals are tightly packed; excitement causes them to loosen (right)

"Chameleons invented something completely new in evolution," Prof Milinkovitch said.

"They split the iridophores into two layers, one that is specialised for colour change... and one to reduce the amount of energy absorbed by the animal.

"That's an amazing toolkit that allows them to choose between being hidden or displaying very spectacular colours for communication - and on top of that they have this ability to control their temperature because of the deep iridophores."

The article is based on the report: Photonic crystals cause active colour change in chameleons

So if you've ever wondered how chameleons change color, there's your answer, "photonic crystals." (and a whole bunch of other mumbo-jumbo.)
edit on 11-3-2015 by Blackmarketeer because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2015 @ 08:16 PM
i wonder if this is the kind of thing that octopus use?

posted on Mar, 12 2015 @ 03:38 AM

originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
i wonder if this is the kind of thing that octopus use?

I wonder if the TR3-B uses this technology and if so, who is paying royalties to the chameleons?

posted on Mar, 12 2015 @ 05:24 AM
That's awesome!!

...Skin-thick camouflage

posted on Mar, 12 2015 @ 05:33 AM
a reply to: seattlerat

Maybe this will be how cloaking technology will be invented.


edit on 12-3-2015 by leolady because: (no reason given)

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