Scientists discover that a chameleon's eyes, which until now were believed to act completely independently from each other, are actually well co-ordinated and can track two targets simultaneously. Sharon Reich reports.
You probably know that chameleons can change color and that their tongues move at an alarming speed. Now, new neural research from the University of Haifa shows that they can also simultaneously track two different targets. Until now it was thought the exotic lizard's eyes moved independently. But the Haifa team showed that the way their brains control eye movement is actually coordinated between the two cerebral hemispheres. So each eye knows exactly what the other eye is seeing. Israeli researcher Hadas Ketter-Katz. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HADAS KETTER-KATZ, PhD RESEARCHER AT THE DEPARTMENT OF NEUROBIOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, SAYING: "We found out that each eye has a different role. We have the tracking eye that will continue tracking the target and the converging eye that will converge to the tracking eye and eventually she will choose that target. We found out that each eye has a different subtle pattern of eye movements according to her role. So even before the chameleon chose one of the targets, I could tell by the subtle patterns of the eye which one she is going to go for." In lab tests, the research team placed the chameleons in front of a computer screen and used "video games" to test their eye movement and response. Ketter-Katz says the new discovery could ultimately help developers seeking to mimic the chameleon's eye movements in robotics and military vision technology.