Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"These Lizards Are Full of Green Blood That Should Kill Them"

Red blood cells only live for four months or so, and when they die, our bodies recycle the iron within them. That process inadvertently creates a green pigment called biliverdin, which is then converted into a yellow one called bilirubin. Both of these are toxic, and our livers quickly filter them out of our blood. When you get a bruise, the unsightly green and yellow colors come from the biliverdin and bilirubin unleashed by dying red blood cells. When infants get jaundice, that’s the result of bilirubin building up before their newborn livers kick into action.


The lizards’ blood contains so much of the green pigment that it completely overshadows the normal red of their hemoglobin.