Scientists recently discovered one the tiniest chameleons in the world. The reptile, which was found on a small island off Madagascar, can perch on the tip of a matchstick, and is smaller than a thumbnail, Our Amazing Planet
The chameleon, which scientists named Brookesia micra, grows to just about an inch from nose to bottom, which also makes it one of the smallest vertebrates ever found on Earth, the news outlet reports. Three other miniature chameleons were found along with B. micra, and all were identified as new to science.
Lead researcher Frank Glaw told the news source this species may represent the limit of miniaturization possivle for vertebrates, but it is impossible to know for sure.Discover Magazine
reports that the size of these chameleons seems to be the result of an evolutionary phenomenon called island dwarfism. It is believed that animals slowly shrink in size in response to the limited resources on the island.
However, there is another theory called island gigantism, which explains the reason why some island animals seem to grow larger than those in other places. Scientists say it occurs because the isolated animals have no predators, allowing them to evolve into giants.