A cryptic intermediate in the evolution of chameleon tongue projection

Experientia. 1988 Aug 15;44(8):697-700. doi: 10.1007/BF01941032.


An incipient form of tongue projection occurs in Phrynocephalus helioscopus, a generalized agamid lizard. We argue that this condition represents a functional intermediate between typical lingual prehension and chamaeleontid tongue projection, and that tongue projection evolved in chameleons by augmentation of ancestral mechanisms still operating in related, generalized lizards.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Lizards / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Tongue / physiology