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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Frogs and Evolution

When I was a kid, I used to hang out near this teeny, tiny, trickle of a pond in the spring, that dried out by the heat of summer.  All the neighborhood children gathered here to watch the tadpoles hatch.  Even though I hated touching the slippery creatures, I loved watching them turn from tadpoles into frogs.  

Since I've had children, the frog evolved into a telling of fairy tales.  Until now. 

Did you know that scientists study frogs and other amphibians because they are so sensitive to changes in the environment? The effects of toxins and overall pollution show up on these little critters long before the effects show up in humans. And since frogs live near streams and other small water sources that are usually fed from larger bodies of water that people use, it only follows the ill effects will eventually show up in humans.

What I found interesting over the past couple of days:
1.  A lungless frog has been found in Indonesia in fast moving streams that are rich in oxygen  Since the frogs moved from a polluted river to the fast moving streams, their lungs made them too buoyant and they were swept away.  The frogs eventually evolved so they became lungless and breathed through their skin.  For more information, go to CNN's article.

Not too worried since it's half a world away?  
2.  Hermadophrite frogs--frogs with both male and female organs--have been found in the United States.  Researchers believe a common herbicide used on lawns, gardens and agriculture, eventually ends up in the water, causing the abnormalities in the frogs.  For more information, go to this New York Times article.  

3. What is scary is abnormalities were discovered years ago...(via The Boston Globe)

In case you're curious about the scary wildlife I had to contend with this morning...a deer tick on a third person in my family.  This time, the little bugger had embedded itself halfway in the back of my nine-year-old's neck, and required a trip to the doctor's office.  

Isn't it maddening the environmental toxins, which we created all in the name of progress, are harming the frogs and will eventually harm us, while these disgusting ticks will probably thrive because they'll probably become resistant to everything?

3 comments:

Christine M said...

Another tick! Oh no! Sorry you had to take a trip to the doctor.

As for the frogs - look on the bright side - they are able to adapt to the environment they find themselves in (however unpleasant that environment might be)

The Cole Mine said...

This is why we stopped using chemicals on our lawn etc. Thanks for all of the interesting info!

Those deer ticks are pesky!

Cloudscome said...

Yow that is scary! Those ticks are buggers.