Evolution of Two Species From a Common Ancestor

Evolution of Two Species From a Common Ancestor

Charles Darwin is known to have theorized on one of the most controversial, yet longest lasting theory explaining the origin of species. He suggested, through the tree of life hypothesis that all organism on earth might have originated from a common ancestor. There are similarities among the various species that made Darwin to have such a hypothesis and in the context of this paper, the crocodile and the chameleon will be discussed as having the same ancestry with adaptations coming up to help them survive in the varied environments.

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According to the evolutionary tree, the crocodile and the chameleons must have had a common ancestry (Robert N. & Jerome K., 2014:Pp46). The crocodile over the years would walk on two legs, but adopted the low quadrupedal in order to have an easier and less noticeable entrance into the large water bodies to hunt for food a long the shores without the prey noticing. The chameleon also has the low quadrupedal for the same purpose in the shrubs. Both the chameleon and the crocodiles rely on their stealth to hunt and both have feet that are adopted for this purpose hence the possibility of a common ancestor.

The shape of the jaw of the crocodile has over the years evolved to give it more grasp on the prey, subduing the prey and hence survival in terms of food. The same applies to the chameleon who has a similar shaped mouth with powerful jaws that can grasp large prey relative to the size of the chameleon. This is yet another common evolution trend that indicates that they must have had a similar ancestor hence forming such evolutionary adaptations to the changing environment that presented lesser food and yet they both had to perpetuate their species. It is also worth noting that both the chameleon and the crocodile have upward-pointing nostrils, a feature that helps the crocodile to swim with ease and breath without being noticed as it hunts.

The other aspect that brings the two together in terms of ancestry is the aspect of mimicry for protection and survival. The crocodile has a back that resembles a floating log and can easily be passed without being noticed, a feature that helps the crocodile to be an effective hunter without the prey noticing, only to nab them through the element of surprise, the mimicry is a significant feature of its survival. This same feature of mimicry is evident with the chameleon that can change the colors as frequently as they need to and mimic the background surrounding them. This is an element that makes them blend in with the surrounding, hence the potential prey will not notice them and also evade their enemies that may want to eat them. This shared feature is yet another strong pointer towards the two species sharing a common ancestry.

The chameleon is known to have a functioning tail that is used for holding on to branches and twigs as it moves through challenging terrain among the trees. The tail acts as a fifth locomotion aid and not barely cosmetic, this is an endowment of evolution that enables more effectiveness in a new environment that presents barriers which may be were not present with the ancestors. The crocodile also has a tail that is functional can significantly used for locomotion under water. This fifth locomotion limb also evolved to aid in moving through a new environment of water that the ancestors were not accustomed to since they did not have gills but lungs. This feature that brings the two together is yet another indication that these two had a common ancestor and evolved to have separate adaptations that aid in their survival.

Possible pitfalls in the approach

In as much as the two may have had a common ancestor, there are some gaps that still pose challenges in linking the two. One is that the crocodile spends mots of its time and life under water yet the chameleon spends most of its life on dry land, the difference in environments indicates that the two might have had different origins that their bodies were used to. The other factor is the difference in procreation whereby the crocodiles do lay eggs and hatch into young ones to perpetuate their species, chameleons have dual approach where some species chameleon species give birth to live young ones yet others lay eggs to be hatched (Aquatic Community, 2009). These are factors that make the relationship complex and casting doubts whether the two came from the same ancestor really.


Aquatic Community, (2009). Chameleons. Retrieved June, 9, 2015 from http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/chameleons/

Robert N. & Jerome K., (2014). Biology: Organisms and Adaptations. Retrieved June, 9, 2015 from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=eUkWAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=fish+and+crocodiles+have+common+ancestor&source=bl&ots=C3DsHhGQlc&sig=BD2Sr7LMNutNEQkMyl0PV0RGrqg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBmoVChMIyO6W5sWExgIVjRTbCh1yvQBN#v=onepage&q=fish%20and%20crocodiles%20have%20common%20ancestor&f=false

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