Green blood is common in science fiction. Monsters often have green blood because it's weird and scary, the Xenomorphs from the Alien series have acidic green blood, and the Predator movies led us into glowing green blood. Green blood actually exists here on Earth, but it is quite rare, and a new research effort aimed at determining why certain lizard species on the island of New Guinea have the bizarre shadow of blood could only half answer the question. 19659002] The research, published in Science Advances focused on finding the origin of the green-flowered Prasinohaema skinks and finding out what sets them apart from their red blood brothers. The scientists quickly discovered how unique these creatures really are.
After studying the blood of the lizards, researchers discovered that a green bile pigment called biliverdin is responsible for the strange color. Biliverdin is found in humans, but only in small amounts, and is responsible for the greenish hue we sometimes see on bruises. Too much biliverdin in human blood and tissues can cause jaundice, a condition characterized by a yellow skin with impaired liver function, but some of the lizards in New Guinea are absolutely full of it. […] These lizards have developed resistance to the toxicity of bile pigments for each animal "
" In addition to the highest concentration of biliverdin. explains Zachary Rodriguez, Ph.D. student at LSU and lead author of the study. "Understanding the underlying physiological changes that have allowed these lizards to remain without jaundice can lead to non-traditional approaches to specific health issues."
The amount of biliverdin present in skinks would kill a human many times Researchers estimate that the levels of green bile in their bodies are up to 40 times higher than the lethal dose for a human. But exactly for what reason the lizards developed the unique blood has remained a difficult question.
In the future, scientists will try to finally answer the "why" and they will first examine how the blood reacts to various parasites in the area. It could be that the particular blood is resistant to certain parasitic infections, giving the lizards a clear survival advantage, but we will not know for sure until the extra work is done.