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We often see videos of octopuses and chameleons changing their color to suit their surroundings. If it was a simple color change from white to red, it'd be understandable, but some of these animals can change colors while incorporating a lot of detail.

How do they process so much information and mimic it. Is this a subconscious action, or do they actually draw a picture in their head and then 'print' it on their bodies? Does this ability come from birth or does it get better over time?

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Some of it is voluntary and some involuntary and is detailed in this book. Chameleons have chromatophores (pigment containing light reflecting organelles in cells) which help in their colour change and many factors like age, health, etc does affect it. And no, they do not form a picture on their head and print it on their bodies.

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