Startled Snake Horks Up New Chameleon Species
British scientist startled reptile before it could digest dinner
By Will McCahill, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 7:41 PM CST
The newly discovered Kinyongia magomberae (Magombera chameleon).   (University of York)

(Newser) – A Tanzanian snake so startled by a British researcher that it threw up its still-undigested dinner in fact horked up a previously unknown species of chameleon. Andrew Marshall tells the Guardian he was surveying monkeys in the Magombera forest when he tripped over the nervous twig snake; though worried about the venom that killed the creature, he ascertained that the erstwhile meal was indeed a new find.

Marshall made the discovery in 2005, but it’s only official now that he’s published it. And though he earned the naming rights, Marshall gave it a moniker reflecting its habitat: Kinyongia magomberae. Was he tempted to work Marshall in somehow? “Oh crumbs, no. The thing is, if you work in an area of conservation importance and you can give a species the name of that area it can really highlight that area. By giving it the name Magombera it raises the importance of the forest.”