Lizards With Toxic Green Blood Actually Exist In New Guinea
Photo: Matt McClain/For The Washington Post (Getty)
Green-blooded or red-blooded? Skinks or skanks? Man, the lizard game in New Guinea can be a confusing one.
According to Gizmodo, Prasinohaema lizards are native to New Guinea. Odds are fact alone isn’t enough to get you to read further. However, having such a high concentration of green bile pigments they are actually green-blooded instead of red-blooded should be enough to do the trick.
Scientists have determined that the high levels of biliverdin in the lizards’ bile is also what gives their muscles, bones and tongue their bright, lime-green appearance (clearly the lizard above isn’t a Prasinohaema, but that face was just too perfect to pass up). While a human being with a high volume of biliverdin would probably be diagnosed with jaundice, Prasinohaema lizards are packing 40 times the lethal dose for humans, yet are still able to live normal lives with healthy livers.
Naturally, scientists and researchers are viewing these green-blooded lizards as the perfect subject and potential source for powerful new medicines.
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“In addition to having the highest concentration of biliverdin recorded for any animal, these lizards have somehow evolved a resistance to bile pigment toxicity,” LSU researcher Zachary Rodriguez said. “Understanding the underlying physiological changes that have allowed these lizards to remain jaundice-free may translate to non-traditional approaches to specific health problems.”
So New Guinea has that going for them, which is nice.