Are you a hunter? Imagine that you were one of the first pioneers to settle America. All sorts of wild game filled the countryside. How would you have gone about getting food to eat?

Now imagine that you're defending your country in an ongoing armed conflict. The enemy prowls the borders around you. How can you protect yourself?

For hunters and soldiers both, one effective way of disguising your presence is by using camouflage. Many children are already familiar with camouflage. In fact, you might have some camouflage clothing at home already!

If you have a camouflage shirt, what color is it? If you've seen several examples of camouflage clothing, you know that camouflage can come in a variety of colors. It's not one particular color. Instead, it's many different colors and shades, blended together in a wide variety of patterns for all sorts of different types of climates, terrains, and landscapes.

Camouflage works most often in one of two ways. Camouflage clothes often make someone harder to see, thereby concealing their identity. Sometimes, though, camouflage might include specific colors and patterns meant to make someone harder to see by disguising them to look like something else. The word “camouflage" actually comes from a French slang word meaning “to disguise."

There are many impressive examples of natural camouflage from the animal world. In today's Wonder of the Day, though, we're going to concentrate on the man-made camouflage that is used by today's military and sportsmen.

Today's camouflage clothing got its start with military efforts to develop disguises for soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and the like during World War I and World War II. One of the most popular styles of camouflage uses random splotches of army green, brown, and gray, which would help disguise someone in a woodland setting.

As battlegrounds expanded to other climates, terrains, and landscapes, it soon became clear that one style of camouflage would not be sufficient. For example, army green camouflage clearly would not work well in a desert setting filled with muted tans, browns, and grays or a snowy landscape that was almost all white.

Today, the United States military alone has at least 10 different types of camouflage uniforms. They once had two: one green uniform for the woods and one brown uniform for the desert. Now certain branches of the military, such as the Marines and the Navy, have their own particular camouflage patterns for various locales.

When you consider that most countries around the world outfit their military organizations in their own unique versions of camouflage, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of camouflage clothing around the world today.

Camouflage clothing has become popular amongst teens around the United States. While fashion is usually about standing out from the crowd, camouflage is all about blending in. Wearing camouflage in public does help people stand out from the crowd, though, so maybe it's the height of fashion today!

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is a brand-new invention. Come check it out!