One of world’s rarest chameleons, once feared extinct, found in African rainforest

Scientists have found one of the world’s rarest chameleons “clinging to survival” after fearing it had become extinct since its initial discovery in the 1990s because of massive deforestation, a new study finds.

Researchers discovered a population of Chapman’s pygmy chameleons (Rhampholeon chapmanorum) surviving in small patches of rainforest in southern Malawi in southeastern Africa. Chapman’s pygmy chameleons grow to just 2.2 inches (5.5 centimeters) long and walk on the forest floor. They disguise themselves by matching the pattern of dead leaves. They were first discovered in a dwindling rainforest in the Malawi Hills in 1992 and were later released into a separate forest 59 miles (95 kilometers) away near Mikundi, also in Malawi, to increase their chances of survival.


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