Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

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Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

I know that the main reason chameleons change color for communication and not for camouflage, but why. When there are no other chameleons around, why not blend into your surroundings. Plus. their 360o vision and excellent eyesight means that they could change their color to make exactly whatever is around them. They could be the land equivalent to cuttle fish... Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but come on! They have all these different colors and really precise control over them, so why don't they use their colors like everything else. Why do they have to lose?
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Ginger » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:54 am UTC

Not everything animals do makes sense. Like: Why do roosters crow in the mornings? Why can't fishes remember stuffs very long? Why my ferret keep sliding across her cage all cutey w/her paws? We can come up with explanations for these things, scientific ones even. That doesn't mean we fully understand the animals' world. I don't understand why chameleons change colors at all. I do like it a lot though. Anyways, my best guess as to why they don't camouflage is: It was a mistake in... whatever tells them they need to change their bodies' colors. A simple mistake of nature and it has no purpose. They could camouflage themselves if they wanna yet: Their brains or their bodies won't let them because of a mistake in evolution, their upbringing or whatever. That's my best guess and I am no scientist thank you for reading.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:58 am UTC

Roosters crow to establish their territory, and being the first to do so in the morning (before sunrise) gives them an advantage. Fish have adequate memories that are well suited to their environments (and small brains). Your ferret is in a cage and so doesn't have anywhere else to go. I feel like these are not the best examples you could have come up with.

Chameleon color-changing is an extremely complex adaptation used for communication. It is not a mistake. The question of why this adaptation didn't gain additional use as camouflage is an interesting but malformed one. In fact, many chameleons do camouflage themselves by changing the color of their skin to match their surroundings, in spite of what you may have been told. Some even tune their colors to the vision of the specific predator they see nearby. However, for most larger species of chameleon, any camouflage function is secondary to social signalling. Presumably, this reflects the difference in utility of the two functions. In other words, the signalling function is just more useful to the chameleon. Of course, it will vary from species to species, and evolution will not always optimize this sort of thing, but this is to be expected.

By comparison, note that many species which cannot change their colors still have extravagant, highly visible displays. Flamingos' pink plumage certainly makes them stand out to predators, but it also makes them stand out to potential mates. The same sort of calculation is happening here.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby p1t1o » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:13 am UTC

Do Chameleons suffer much from predation? Perhaps they have little need for camoflage.

I have also heard that the way that the degree to which they can become motionless camoflages them from their prey (insects).

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:12 pm UTC

They do.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:12 pm UTC

That last one is a bird, I'm not sure how it's relevant to the discussion.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:22 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:That last one is a bird, I'm not sure how it's relevant to the discussion.

That's how good the chameleon is at disguise!

But the jokes on it. There's a bird camouflaged as a branch-blended chameleon about to pounce up upon it. Oh fickle nature!

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby speising » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:41 pm UTC

everybody, stay on topic. this thread is about camoufloge!

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:46 pm UTC

So long as it's not about camelflage. (Yes, that's a real thing).
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Weeks » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:03 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Izawwlgood wrote:They do. [...]
Hmm. Really makes you think.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:50 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:That last one is a bird, I'm not sure how it's relevant to the discussion.

I'm trying to think of a joke that involves me blending in, but all I can come up with is somethingsomething your mom?

Also I'm realizing now I should convert my stupid fish tank into a cool chameleon enclosure.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby p1t1o » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Zohar wrote:...all I can come up with is somethingsomething your mom?


Mines really good and ends with "...come here lion!"

Wish I knew how the start went...

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:27 pm UTC

Seriously. Seriously! Everything I have ever learned about chameleons changing color reiterated that it was not for used camouflage. This isn't that psychological bias that the most often you hear something the more confident you feel in it. I got this from respectable resources; teachers, zoo managers, education TV shows, books, website. EVERYTHING! This is like suddenly learning that erasers are good electrical conductors. BRB Going to go have a melt down.

speising wrote:everybody, stay on topic. this thread is about camoufloge!

Maybe they are on topic, but they have hidden their messages in posts that look like unimportant banter.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:17 pm UTC

Fish, like goldfish, have decent memories.

They use them to remember shit that's important to fish.

I recall reading of a study that conditioned goldfish to respond to a sound for feeding. They were then released to a pond and left alone for five or six months, then had the sound re-introduced.

They lined up and prepared to be fed. Goldfish. At least a five month memory.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:26 pm UTC

Yeah, but carp shit a lot.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yeah, but carp shit a lot.

That's because of their dwarf-rich diet.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:25 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Seriously. Seriously! Everything I have ever learned about chameleons changing color reiterated that it was not for used camouflage. This isn't that psychological bias that the most often you hear something the more confident you feel in it. I got this from respectable resources; teachers, zoo managers, education TV shows, books, website. EVERYTHING!

That was my experience, too. I think what happened was that people would go see chameleons in enclosures and notice how strikingly not-camouflaged they usually were. Experts also had to correct the misconception that camouflage was the only use of color changing. But in any case, the misconception has now swung the other way, as many species of smaller chameleons do use their coloration for camouflage more than anything else.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:54 am UTC

Yeah, but carp shit a lot.
So do Herons who ate the fucking carp in my pond.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:44 am UTC

Octopuses seem to change color under more than one set of circumstances. Sometimes their color changes create protective or predatory camouflage, and sometimes their color changes serve as a means of communication with other octopuses, as mentioned here.

I don't see why chameleons couldn't behave similarly.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby jewish_scientist » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:41 pm UTC

I agree with you, but the problems is that was not what I was told. Again and again we were explicitly told that it was not used for camouflage and were only used for communication.
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby p1t1o » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:06 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I agree with you, but the problems is that was not what I was told. Again and again we were explicitly told that it was not used for camouflage and were only used for communication.


Its not that unusual. Science advances, but the advances are not communicated quickly, so you have more than one group of people with very good support for conflicting ideas.

***

Reference: working on R&D on cutting edge woundcare products, we studied what the state-of-the-art was in terms of wound healing. For *most* types of wound, from superficial to significant, "occlusive moist wound healing" is the state of the art. You keep the wound covered, sealed under a dressing which promotes a moist environment underneath, and unless the dressing needs replacing you keep the dressing on until it has healed.

But doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals even today will tell you to "air wounds out" even though this practice leads to a greater prevalence of secondary infections and increased likelihood of scarring, because the state-of-the-art takes a finite time to propagate through the industry.

Even when medical professionals give the most up-to-date advice, the proportion of people that will simply ignore it because they "feel" that some other approach would be better for them is very high, we had actual studies done on that. "Patient compliance" its called.

A doctor could say "Dont do this or your wound will get worse" but if the general public's consensus is something else, they will do it with staggering frequency.

***

How does one tell one situation where there is a legitimate scientific advance from another situation where someone is straight-up wrong about something?

You can't, not quickly anyway.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:53 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Again and again we were explicitly told that it was not used for camouflage and were only used for communication.
There are tons of "corrections" that get passed along in more absolute terms than they should be. They use it for both camouflage and communication, most species more for the latter than the former, but not exclusively for either. But since the previous common belief was exclusively camouflage, what people picked up on wasn't "also sometimes communication", they got "camouflage is wrong, it's communication".
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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:07 am UTC

Part of the vehemence with which certain erroneous information is imparted is due to geekery gone bad.

I like geekery. I'm a geek myself. Geeks are people who get excited about niche subjects. Hooray for niche subjects. Hooray for geekery.

But sometimes we geeks get a little too enamored of our own expertise, and we start incessantly preaching variations on a sermon called "I Am Right, Right, Right About Everything And Everyone Else Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong."

Caring more about who's right than what's right is not an attitude conducive to good science--i.e., to objective consideration of whether what we've long believed to be true is still supported by newly-discovered evidence.

I'm quite familiar with this pitfall because I have fallen into it myself so many times.

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Re: Why do Chameleons Not Use Camoufloge?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:14 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I agree with you, but the problems is that was not what I was told. Again and again we were explicitly told that it was not used for camouflage and were only used for communication.
I may have missed it, but what was the context in which you were told this? I remember a lot of erroneous assertions being made in lower level college classes in the form of absolutes that weren't. Sometimes it's harmless simplification of a concept, other times it's an actual mistake.
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