Domain: Eukarya

Members of Eukarya have membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, lysosomes, and Golgi Apparati.  The cells also possess a true nucleus that contains DNA. Cell division is a common aspect of this domain, including meiosis and mitosis. (Kaiser 2014)

Phylogenetic Tree of Life

Kingdom: Animalia

Members of the Animalia kingdom are heterotrophic, multicellular and lack a cell wall. Most Animalia show some means of movement at some point in their life span (Myers 2001). The kingdom Animalia has a vast range of organisms within it including organisms like the Sumatran Tiger, two-toed sloth, Southern Right Whales, and even extinct animals such as the Paraceratherium!

Phylum: Chordata

Chordata possess gill slits, dorsal nerve chord, thyroid gland, a notochord and at some point in their life, a post anal tail (Myers 2001). (One of my other favorite Chordate organisms is the North-west Italian Cave Salamander)

The members of class: ReptiliaClass: Reptilia

The members of the class Reptilia possess lungs, are cold blooded, have epidermal scales and produces amniotic eggs (Myers 2001) (Which do not need water and contains an extra membrane for protection just like the Northern Alligator Lizard and Thorny Devil's eggs).


Order: Squamata

Squamata are the most diverse group within the class reptilia. They have moveable skulls, joined and or paired organs and keratin scales (Vertebrate Diversity 2007).(Check out this link and this one too for other fasinating Squamata!)

Suborder: Lacertilia

Lizard is the collective name for the members of Lacertilia. Common characteristics are moveable eyelids, the presence of four limbs and visible ear openings (Georgia Museum of Natural History 2008)

A more familiar chameleonFamily: Chamaeleonidae

Most highly specialized and distinctive clade of lizards. Chamaeleonidae are most commonly known for their vast amount of colors and some species are able to change colors. They have majestic crests or horns on their head, stereoscopic eyes, quick extrudable tongues and zygodactylous feet (Heying 2003).

Jackson Chameleon up close

 Genus: Chamaeleo

The most recently upgraded genus, Chamaeleo are easy pointed out due to the horns or elongated body parts protruding from their crests (Kundinger 2001).

Species: Chamaeleo jacksonii

The Jackson Chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksonii) is just as mighty as its latin names translation. 'Chamaeleo' meaning earth lion and 'jacksonii' meaning... well Jackson averages 15-35cm in length and is sexually dimorphic. Males have three protruding pointed, long horns coming from their crests. Females usually lack horns or are poorly developed among them. Jackson Chameleons usually display dark green colors but are able to change colors thanks to specialized cells within the skin (O’Meara 2001).
                          Jackson Chameleon is natural habitat                     


Class Reptilia Phylogenetic Tree

Figure 1. Class Reptilia Phylogenetic Tree Showing Archosaur Clade and order squamata. All members mentioned are currently not known to be extinct.

One of the most highly debated phylogenies is that of the class Reptilia. Due to its vastness and predominantly still unknown organisms many argue over how the phylogeny should be portrayed. This results in the creation of several different portrayals of the class Reptilia’s phylogenetic trees and all the organisms belonging to the class Reptilia. The order Squamata, an order within the class Reptilia, contains all scaled reptilia including the family Chamaeleonidae (WhoZoo 2005). By viewing the phylogeny of Squamata (Figure 1.) we are able to observe a narrower range of the Jackson chameleon’s, and other organisms belonging to the order squamata, common ancestors. When looking at the family Chamaeleonidae phylogeny (Figure 2.) the narrow rang of common ancestors is greatly widened and more observations can be made on common ansestory of the Jackson Chameleon. Figure 2 shows the genus’s contained within the family Chamaeleonidae. This shows the Genus Trioceros, the Genus the Jackson chameleon is located in, closest relation is with the genus Kinyongia (Vences 2013).

Phylogeny of Chamaeleonidae

Figure 2. Large scale Phylogeny of Chamaeleonidae based On DNA Sequencing Research of 13 Genes.

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