It's always a good feeling to know that man hasn't managed to kill off all of the species that were, until now, undiscovered! Could be that their diminutive size is God's way of protecting them.
Tiny reptile fits on fingertips!
Perhaps the only thing more remarkable than a chameleon small enough to comfortably fit on a computer key is that researchers were even able to spot the tiny thing, and at night no less.
But they did, and now we not only have the world's smallest chameleon, but also a possible play date for the world's tiniest frog.
The miniature reptile officially goes by the name Brookesia micra and adult males max out at about half-an-inch in length. So look down at your hand. That means there's room for an extended family nearly 20 of these chameleons between your wrist and knuckles. That's crazy!
The reptiles are among four new species of chameleons discovered by researchers on an island off of Madagascar. They published their findings online this week in the journal Plos One.
Andrea Mustain of OurAmazingPlanet reports the team set out at night with head lamps and flashlights to locate the miniature creatures and, presumably, were exceedingly careful about where they stepped.
The German-led expedition found the Brookesia micra sleeping in branches just four inches off the ground. Well, "just" four inches to us ... probably a high-rise apartment to them.
Lead researcher Dr. Frank Glaw told the BBC, "They mostly live in the leaf litter in the day ... But at night they climb up and then you can spot them." He also explained that the chameleons may be so small as a result of their isolation, which can lead to island dwarfism. That's an evolutionary process where living things shrink over time to adapt to their very restricted living area.
But even that small, remote habitat is not immune from human development, and scientists believe the very existence of these newly-discovererd species is threatened.
"Its habitat is in truth barely protected," they write. "And subject to numerous human-induced environmental problems resulting in severe habitat destruction, thus threatening the survival of the species."
So think about that, developers off Madagascar: In your race to get ahead and modernize, don't forget about the little people.
Or all the little chameleons.
Once again, we should stand in awe at the wonders our maker has put on this earth. Now if we can manage to curb our selfish desire to capture, kill, or exploit these wonders maybe they can manage to live a while longer in peace and safety. One can only hope!
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's chilly out, but maybe some nice, warm peach cobbler will help!