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Chameleon Tongues in Slow Motion are as Beautiful as They are Gross

Chameleon Tongues in Slow Motion are as Beautiful as They are Gross

As cool as everything humanity has invented over the years is, we still don’t hold a candle to Mother Nature. The animal kingdom has come up with some downright perfect and perfectly perplexing machinery through billions of years of evolution and, thanks to super slow motion video, we can witness the beautiful (and generally gross) action of some of those things.

Like, say, a chameleon using its tongue to snag a cricket from a man’s mouth.

In a recent Smarter Every Day video, Destin puts himself in the line of fire to feed some crickets to a particularly hungry chameleon named Mojo. Using his high-speed cameras, the action is captured at a whopping 20,000 frames per second and the results are astounding and, well, sort of gross.

A chameleon flicks its tongue out using a combination of few muscles firing in sequence along with a well-placed hyoid bone that acts like a mechanical linkage in the chameleon’s jaw. Destin came to this conclusion after another YouTuber, Brainscoop’s Emily Graslie, provided footage of a chameleon specimen that’s been through the process of diaphonization. The hyoid bone pushes the tongue out of the chameleon’s mouth as the muscles fire to shoot it toward chirping prey.

As with most of Destin’s videos, this one shows us the beauty of something we may often overlook. There is intense beauty in everyday life; if we’re just willing to look close enough. (Well, we guess chameleons aren’t an everyday sort of thing for most people but you get what we’re saying.)

Do you have a better understanding of how crickets meet their sticky doom? What’s your favorite Smarter Every Day video? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Images: Smarter Every Day

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