National Geographic: The Body Changers

Synopsis:
Year:
2000
6 Views

an unlucky moment for a swim.

It's a vulnerable creature,

unarmored and undisguised.

The turtle has nipped off

the salamander's hind leg.

Over three months, the creature

miraculously transforms itself

back to an earlier stage of life.

The genes that grew the leg

in the first place are activated again.

The new leg will be indistinguishable

from the original.

Unique among animals with backbones,

the salamander can regrow

not just limbs

but the lens of the eye

and even part of the brain.

This beast can survive

a bite to the head!

The Hydra lives.

The power to change shape or color

offers a special edge in life.

Some creatures change

to stay hidden.

Others transform

to find new kinds of food.

Still other animals change

for upward mobility,

for the chance to fly or leap

to another pond.

This lake is home to two body changers

that can be lifelong rivals.

A dragonfly nymph spends the first

part of its life beneath the surface.

Everything about this creature

seems honed for water.

It is tapered for speed.

Its head has powerful jaws and huge

eyes-the better to catch prey with.

It breathes through an anal gill,

also handy for jet propulsion.

It's hard to believe

that this pond predator,

sleek as a torpedo, accurate and deadly,

will one day take to the air.

Wings are already forming.

An amazing makeover is beginning.

But the dragonfly will not be able to

complete its body change

without regular meals.

Sharing the pond are

gray treefrog tadpoles.

You can't get any fishier than this

without actually being a fish.

A tadpole breathes through

internal gills.

Its long flat tail propels it

like a fish's tail.

Inside, powerful front legs have formed

and are nearly ready to burst out.

But not every ungainly swimmer will

live to be reborn as an elegant leaper.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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"National Geographic: The Body Changers" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 21 Jan. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/national_geographic%3A_the_body_changers_14568>.

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