Similarities of Kinyongia to Furcifer

Discussion in 'Science And Conservation' started by Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Just a PM that I had with Seeco and it was decided to make a thread. Who has noticed that there are many Kinyongia that look similar to Furcifer. Such as Kinyongia matschiei and Furcifer bifidus. As well as Furcifer willsii and Kinyongia multituberculata. There are many others with similarities.
    #1 Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  2. Trace

    Trace Captain Awesome

    It's not just Kinyongia and Furcifer. I think there are common traits between the some species of the bitaeniatus complex and some the Bradypodion species. Trioceros bitaeniatus and Bradypodion kentanicum for instance.

    Ultimately wouldn't all chameleons have a common ancestor that would explain these visual similarities. I have often looked for some anthropological record on chameleons and have not come up with much; are there any decent books or articles on the subject?
  3. Solid Snake

    Solid Snake Avid Member

    Wow! Looking at the given comparisons, I see what you mean. Thats very interesting.
    It would be great to see an ancient chameleon ancestor. :) I imagine there were all kinds of interesting predocessors to our current day species.
  4. Seeco

    Seeco New Member

    I noticed a similarity between Furcifer labordi and Kinyongia xenorhina. Also male Furcifer minor and Kinyongia tavetana. These are very close similarities we are talking about here. Yeah Trace there must be a common ancestor thing or perhaps what they call convergent evolution.

    That or some volcano blasted a bunch of Kinyongia over to Madagascar :D
  5. Kinyongia uthmeolleri could pass as a miniature Furcifer pardalis. Even though it is not a Furcifer species Calumma gallus and Calumma nasuta have got many similarities similar to Kinyongia tenuis. Seems that convergent evolution (or common genetic make up) is especially common for Kinyongia and Furcifer genus's and is present with other genus's. Would be great to see written material about similarity of chameleon genetics.
    #5 Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  6. The articles I have read material about this subject are few and far between. This subject if intensively studied could probably make a entire chapter or its own book once initial studying and research is complete. The most comprehensive coverage I have seen was from Masters of Disguise although other material others exist. Although Masters of Disguise was more of a list of features and not a comparison of similarities.

    Madagascar and India split from Africa a long time ago.
    #6 Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  7. In Tilbury's "Chameleons of Africa" (2010) there's a chapter called "Zoogeography and patterns of distribution in the Chamaeleonidae". It is a nice discussion, containing several theories proposed by different researchers. Very interesting :)
  8. Monties1982

    Monties1982 New Member

    Anthropology from is a social science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind, so it's doubtful you would find an anthropological record for chameleons :p.
    Olimpia likes this.
  9. There is also the detail that the area where Madagascar broke off from Africa is the home and where all/most of these similar Kinyongia species (to Furcifer species) are from.
    #9 Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  10. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Dr. House of Chameleons
    Staff Member

    There definitely are numerous examples of chameleon species from different genera that have converged on similar morphologies and often times this seems to have occurred multiple times between individual genera. This convergent evolution is actually fairly easy to explain, particularly given that we are talking about species and genera within the same family.

    It is highly probable that these different phenotypic traits are mediated by particular gene sequences that are common to much of the entire family. While the most basal chameleon lineages (Brookesia for example) may have fewer genes in common with more derived lineages, the commonality of genes makes it quite easy for these species to have evolved (or possibly re-evolved) similar phenotypes. Within every organism's genome there are genes that are turned on and are visible in the organism's phenotype, and then there are other genes that are turned off and thus are not expressed phenotypically. While the genetic coding for these traits is already present in the genome, they are not expressed. Some of these traits, however, can be turned on over an organism's evolutionary history and subsequent species or lineages will then express these traits in their phenotype. As a result, organisms that share common genetic codings for particular morphological traits can frequently end up converging on similar morphologies.

  11. Seeco

    Seeco New Member

    Well said. It is like there is a CAPACITY to evolve a certain appearance (rostrals in this case) provided that something brings it out of the genes.

    Do we know archaeologically or genetically if Furcifer and Kinyongia are neighbors on the "tree" compared to other genera?
  12. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Dr. House of Chameleons
    Staff Member

    Exactly, their genetic makeup provides a capacity to evolve similar appearances even between different genera.

    At this point there are differing phylogenetic hypotheses as to the relatedness between chameleon genera. Most do not, however, have Furcifer and Kinyongia as sister taxa.

  13. The above conversation explain genetically how these similarities happen. However does not explain the geographic anomalies that most of these similar species happen along the strip of Africa where Madagascar (the worlds oldest island) broke off along time ago. The question then is why are there not species elsewhere in Africa that have got similar genetic showing phenotype similarities to Furcifer or other Madagascar genus's.

    I can think of one (Calumma globifer and parsonii to Chamealeo gracilis and senegalensis who slightly share similarities) however that is nothing compared to the similarities seen in Central Eastern Africa.
  14. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Dr. House of Chameleons
    Staff Member

    Its just a matter of concentrations of diversity. By far the two highest region of chameleon diversity are in Madagascar and east Africa. When you have high levels of diversity, you are going to get a wider range of morphological variation. Along with this variation you are more likely to find examples of convergence. While Kinyongia is the only mainland African genus know to exhibit similar rostral protuberances to some of the Calumma and Furcifer, this too can be a genetic cause. Its possible that of the generic level radiations on mainland Africa, only Kinyongia has experienced the activation of an encoded gene sequence for such rostral protuberances, and therefore, more of its members have it than seen in other genera. It only takes one gene activation event for a broader trend to result.

    Also, you do see regional morphological convergence on mainland Africa, however. Look at T. oweni and the other three-horned Trioceros species or T. balebicornutus compared to some of the Cameroon montane species. While these are within the same genus, they are quite distantly related. Trace also mentioned the similarity between come of the T. bitaeniatus complex and some of the Bradypodion grass morphs.

    beeze likes this.
  15. I hear you Chris I was just referring to genetic similarities from Madagascar to mainland Africa. As those species have been separated and in genetic isolation from each other for an extremely long time and not allowed to disperse as seen with species on mainland Africa. My intrigue is why after all the centuries, millenniums etc.. has this footprint (of similar Madagascar Furcifer species to African Kinyongia species) in Eastern Africa persisted and not seen else where in Africa with high chameleon populations (western central Africa). These similar African populations have had plenty of time to move geographically through out Africa however they have not. Just something I have as part of my private studies and comments about this are great.
    #15 Motherlode Chameleon, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  16. Seeco

    Seeco New Member

    Dang. I really wish there was a connection there.

    There is one other similarity between the two that seems like it must be more than just convergent evolution -- It is not just the rostrals in the males, but the degree of sexual dimorphism in both. What I am trying to say is that the difference between males and females of each species in both genera seem to follow a similar "plan" (aside from the color of the females in furcifer).

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