July 4, 2 020 | Issue 58
Science Spotlight
Nose-Horned Dragon Lizard Resurges in Indonesia
Nearly 130 years ago, Italian explorer Elio Modigliani arrived at a natural history museum in Genoa with the discovery of a lifetime -- a nose-horned lizard that can shift shades like a chameleon that he had reportedly collected from the forests of Indonesia.

After over a century of not seeing the rare creature, an independent wildlife biologist bird survey in the mountainous region surrounding Lake Toba in Indonesia’s North Sumatra found one sleeping, and decided to study it based on the descriptions originally noted by Modigliani so many years ago.

The reptile belongs to the Agamidae family of lizards, which are commonly called "dragon lizards," and include species such as bearded dragons. Researchers say there are 30 lizard species that have never been seen since they were first described, and 19 species which are known from just a single specimen.

Hummingbird Vision May See Outside the Normal Spectrum
Compared to many animals in the Animal Kingdom, humans are relatively colorblind. Whereas humans possess three kinds of color-sensitive cones -- eye cells sensitive to red, green and blue light -- birds have a fourth cone type sensitive to ultraviolet light.

Researchers built LED tubes that could display a wide range of colors, including combinations involving ultraviolet light on wild broad-tailed hummingbirds in an alpine meadow in Gothic, Colorado. For 3 years, they set up food and water stations, placing an LED tube beside each feeder so the hummingbirds could learn to visit rewarding colors.

After analyzing the results of the experiment, the researchers suggested birds are likely able to perceive not only the ultraviolet rays invisible to humans, but also many more unique colors that we may never see.