Adaptation in action (Life)


Notice that the side of the chameleon nearest the sun goes dark, whilst the other side is white

Broadcaster: BBC 1

Year: 2009

Genre: Documentary


Reviewed by Dr Steve Maw (University of Leeds)

This short clip (1 min 20 seconds) taken from the BBC series Life features the Namaqua Chameleon.  At first sight a chameleon is an odd creature to find in the desert and that’s exactly the point. The clip is a good visual example of how species are adapted to their environment and here the chameleon’s colour-changing ability is used to good effect.

I use this clip within a more general discussion of homeostasis and so the Namaqua Chameleon is one example in series of behavioural, physiological and physical adaptions to maintain body temperature (the Warm up – Marine Iguana is another one I use). So I ask questions like ‘why is the chameleon black in the morning and grey later on in the day?’ which leads on to some physics and further discussion of external regulation of body temperature.



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