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Newly identified gecko is the latest in eerily accurate camouflage

Uroplatus finaritra/Mark D. Scherz

A newly discovered gecko is another dramatic example of detailed camouflage:

As night falls on the lowland rainforests in Madagascar, dead, decaying leaves find new life, slowly unfurling in the vanishing light. But as four scaly feet and wide, unblinking eyes emerge from behind the crinkly veil, the leaves reveal their true identities: these are leaf-tailed geckos, unparalleled masters of disguise. Now, researchers have described a species of these secretive lizards totally new to science, discovered in a protected corner of the island.

With charismatic lemurs, cat-like fossas, and prickly tenrecs, Madagascar has no shortage of endemic species. Leaf-tailed geckos, genus Uroplatus, are similarly a Madagascan original. Well over a dozen species have evolved on the island, and all are equipped with impressive camouflage. In the ultimate RPG of Life, these reptiles have maxed out their stealth skill trees, appearing indistinguishable from an old leaf when at rest. Their tails are flattened and leaf-shaped, and their skin has blotchy colors and textures, even incorporating ragged edges on skin folds for that authentic, “brittle decay” look.Jake Buehler, “Newly Discovered Gecko Species Is Extremely Good at Being a Leaf” at Gizmodo

Presumably to avoid predators.


The newly discovered species comes from low altitude areas of Marojejy National Park on Madagascar’s northeastern tip. During the day, the leaf-tailed geckos are difficult to spot. They tend to hang out in dead leaves, covering themselves with their deceptive tail and sticking their limbs out like twigs. At night, however, they come alive, actively hunting in the dense rainforest—that’s when researchers conduct their surveys. Jason Daley, “Newly Discovered Leaf-Tailed Gecko From Madagascar Is Already Threatened by Pet Trade” at Smithsonian

Paper. (paywall)

The tail is amazing up close. One risk is that the species will be collected to near extinction.

There has never been a good Darwinian explanation for carefully detailed camouflage, despite Dawkins’s sneers. What good for natural selection would looking a little bit like a leaf be?

See also: Moths use acoustic camouflage to evade bats

Researchers: Poison Frog Warning Colors Also Act As Camouflage

Insects Used Camouflage 100 Million Years Ago


Is this the first recorded instance of smell camouflage?

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Adding to the Ultimate RPG comment in this supposedly scientific article: To say that life is the Ultimate RPG is not only backwards, but insulting to the incredible Engineering of life; as of course RPG's are a pale facsimile of life, not the other way around. But I think the materialist atheist my be actually be subconsciously giving a NOD to the more and more inevitable and unavoidable conclusion that LIFE (and the Universe) are not just designed by Engineered. Simulations are engineered. Then we have the simulation Hypothesis -another nod to the engineered nature of the universe and life! It is so painfully obvious from the structure of the universe to the structure of life, that science has shown that our human reality is built of highly specified and purposeful applied information (That MUST be generated by a MIND). But by calling it a simulation, the hope to avoid the "G" word, yet leading to yet another infinite regression of causality, otherwise there must be an original designer that is an "advanced civilization" that did it - which is atheist code for their kind of Deity. Only problem is, the very first simulation makers must reside outside of SpaceTime and matter, otherwise you are still stuck with who created the fist simulation makers? But if they are in a different dimension outside space, time and matter, then this is a definition of a Deity - BTW saying that the simulation is so good that it can even simulate consciousness, is simply no different than saying that God gave us self-aware consciousness - adding the word "simulation" does not change the nature of consciousness, nor does it take away from the obvious exceptional qualities of Mankind over all other life . In FACT, it does not matter HOW GOD created us - I often think of God's creation as an incredible 3D +T work of art. Then we have the holographic principle, and I think they may be on to something here, as life and reality as INFORMATION/CODE/Language - all requiring a mind. All of the hard sciences seem to be headed toward the conclusion that the universe and all that is within it is information based. So the Holographic principle hints that this information is stored in 2D then projected into 3D also screams of design, with the designer again, outside of spacetime and matter - and thus another admission of an omniscient deity. Then we have the cop out to end all cop outs - the multiverse PHILOSOPHY; it is not a hypothesis or a thoery, the former requires it to be testable, the later means a decent amount of observed or measured evidence supports the hypothesis. This is yet ANOTHER attempt to avoid fine tuning of life and the universe and thus adding huge amounts of assumption and complexity all to avoid "G" word. It makes for some decent sci-fi, but is just a big fat divide by zero concept (based really on String Theory which seems to have a near infinite number of solutions - any other concept like this, in any other area of science would be thrown out as an idea that explains everything in one foolish swoop - what is more likely, some bizzare universe generator (that is supposedly built from a "quantum foam" and fluxuations there in) The problem is quantum action is defined only IF there is already matter and spacetime. Quantum fluctuations occur in empty space (or occupied space), but NOT outside of spacetime and matter. It is a GREAT example of the Narrative Fallacy - where logical links to some facts are forced upon a system, even if there is no evidence for making such a logical link between facts. It is also a divide by zero illegal operation to try and avoid the mountain of solid evidence that clearly shows a fine-tuned, engineered universe. And finally - AI fallacies, and building evidence of the duality of MIND and BRIAN - "You" and "I" think, not our brain - our brain is a very important organ - but we have 100% verified proof that MIND can separate completly from the brain, and when it does so, consciousness seems to expand and the free roaming MIND (from NDE's etc.) describes life inside this brain as dreamlike compared to the incredible clarity and super high resolution experiences when the body is DEAD and the Mind expanding, very structured and rational, and incredibly consistent elements between experiencers rule out hallucination (not to mention the brain can't hallucinate when it is dead or unconscious, or in a coma- See the absolute knockout proof of this by looking up " Pam Reynolds NDE".Tom Robbins
February 7, 2019
06:40 AM
"In the ultimate RPG of Life"... I'm gonna guess he intended this to the "Role Playing Game" (e.g., Dungeons & Dragons) meaning and not the "whoosh-BANG" (rocket-propelled grenade) meaning. The whoosh-BANG meaning is of course MUCH more common in News stories, whilst the D&D meaning is only used amongst over-aged adolescents. I of course started playing D&D back in the EARLY '70s when it was ONLY known to a few wargame groups in the Greater Chicago-Lake Geneva area.vmahuna
January 25, 2019
10:42 PM

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