Cold-Blooded Mummy: How India’s Hot Weather Preserved a Reptile

Jun 22, 2017

By Laura Geggel

A thirsty chameleon that perished during its desperate search for water may no longer be of this world, but its mummy — naturally preserved by India’s hot, tropical climate — has intrigued people the world over.

That includes those who think it’s a hoax.

The Indian chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus) was likely looking for water from an old pipe that had been dry for years, said filmmaker and writer Janaki Lenin, who found the critter and posted photos of it on Twitter. The animal was still clutching the pipe, even in death.

“The tragic story of a chameleon,” Lenin tweeted June 18. “He must have remembered drinking water from this pipe a couple of years ago. But we had disconnected it.” (Lenin removed the tweet yesterday, June 21.)

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