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Newly Discovered Chameleon is the World’s Smallest, Smaller Than Your Fingernail

When it comes to camouflage, chameleons have the pretty distinct advantage of being able to change colors. Several newly discovered species of chameleons have an extra hiding advantage: They’re tiny. Naturally this makes certain aspects of their life a little tough, but it also makes them almost impossibly cute for a reptile. Discovered in Madagascar, the Brookesia micra are some of the smallest reptiles in the world at a scant 3 centimeters long.

Ted Townsend, of San Diego State University did some genetic testing on the little guys and has come to the conclusion that they probably trace their roots back to a smaller variety of chameleon than what most of us are familiar with. “Their size suggests that chameleons might have evolved in Madagascar from small and inconspicuous ancestors, quite unlike the larger and more colourful chameleons most familiar to us today,” he told the Daily Mail.

As for the smallest reptile overall, that title still belongs to 16 millimeter Jaragua Sphaero, or dwarf gecko, but even at twice the size, the Brookesia micra are tiny little guys. Researchers report that these fellas are particularly sensitive to habitat destruction, something you might expect of a creature so small. That being said, I’m sure they’re excellent at mimicking pebbles of all various colors, which is an important survival skill I wish I had.

(via Daily Mail, image credit Animal Press / Barcroft Media)

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