Large-scale phylogeny of chameleons suggests African origins and Eocene diversification

02 April 2013 | News story

New data based on >90% of described chameleon taxa reveals African origin!

 Chameleons are an excellent example of how organisms can be distributed across the globe through oceanic dispersal because they are primarily found in Africa and Madagascar, but their age post-dates the last contact between these two landmasses. Using a genetic analysis including 90% of all chameleons, we show that the family originated in Africa, with two separate oceanic dispersals to Madagascar during the Paleocene (65 million years ago) and the Oligocene (48 million years ago), when prevailing oceanic currents promoted eastward dispersal. Thus, even small organisms like chameleons can populate the globe through long distance dispersal over formidable barriers.

For more information, read the full article here.

This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.