No mammal can rival the chameleon for eye

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Our own mammalian order, the primates, prides itself on hand—eye coordination; monkeys, apes, and man are all good manipulators. (Realistic dinosaur model)But no mammal can rival the chameleon for eye—tongue coordination. (walking dinosaur costume)The tongues of chameleons are explosive devices, lying loaded on the floor of the mouth, ready to fire forward as elongated, muscle-propelled missiles armed with a sticky, bugcatching warhead. Missile warheads are useless without their guidance systems, and the chameleon has a stereoscopic rangefinder and fire-control apparatus unique among vertebrates. (realistic dinosaur costume)Each chameleon eye is mounted in a scale-studded turret which can move independently, scanning the branches for insect targets. Once a beetle is located, eyes switch to attack mode—both turrets lock their stare forward on the target. Eyes feed the brain target data, distance, bearing, target size—the fire-control computations are swiftly made, automatically, without conscious thought, zap!—the tongue muscles contract, hurling the bony tongue base forward and squeezing the tongue warhead at great speed out of its contracted state. Another Congolese beetle is swept into the high-tech chameleon jaws.

 

Lizards labor under the disadvantage of being the least publicized reptile clan, but their close kin the serpents bear the worst prejudice handed out by human society. This is unjust. Snake anatomy contains the most clever and intricately efficient feeding apparatuses to be observed anywhere among land vertebrates. (animatronic dinosaur for sale)Our human problem begins with our adaptive table manners; we’re not than their heads. All human parents, from Boston mayors to boomerang-wielding natives, warn their children not to stuff too large a hunk of food in their mouths. Human gullets are small and have only modest capacity for expansion. It’s ecologically adaptive for human parents to discourage gulping big pieces of food, because choking is an uncomfortably common agent of human mortality.