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Aberrant Forms (chapter)

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The chapter begins with Levine flying in a helicopter over the dense jungle of Costa Rica, roughly 18 months after his encounter with Malcolm in Santa Fe. He is accompanied by Marty Guitierrez, an American field biologist who works for the Reserva Biologica de Carara. Recently, another strange animal carcass was discovered by a pair of campers on a secluded beach, and Levine is eager to examine the remains before the government destroys them. Problems immediately arise upon landing at the site; Levine is annoyed to learn that the Public Health Service has already been to see the animal, possibly contaminating the specimen as well as being forbidden from taking pictures. The corpse is in an advanced state of decay, though Levine can tell that its skin pigment appears to be green with darker striations running through it and that the creature is hairless. He also notices that its hind legs are powerfully built, moreso than what is typical of lizards.

The pilots grow more agitated as Levine continues to examine the corpse; he discovers a deep gash near the animal's thigh that ran down to the bone. Levine, impatient at being rushed by the pilots, argues with Marty who believes the animal is simply an unknown species of iguana to which Levine adamantly denies. Levine notices something odd on the animal's corpse, and takes a sample using a pocket knife. Suddenly, Levine is ordered to move away from the corpse; as he begins to argue he sees men armed with flamethrowers approaching the corpse. He pleads with them not to destroy the animal but his pleas fall on deaf ears and the carcass is incinerated.

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