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Thread: The Lungless Frogs of Borneo

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    swords's Avatar
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    The Lungless Frogs of Borneo

    http://www.myembarq.com/news/news_reader.php?storyid=15962714&feedid=271

    Frog Without Lungs Found in Indonesia


    2008-04-10 07:51:25
    By MICHAEL CASEY AP Environmental Writer


    BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species.
    The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis was found in a remote part of Indonesia's Kalimantan province on Borneo island during an expedition in August 2007, said David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. Bickford was part of the trip and co-authored a paper on the find that appeared in this week's edition of the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.
    Bickford said the species is the first frog known to science without lungs and joins a short list of amphibians with this unusual trait, including a few species of salamanders and a wormlike creature known as a caecilian.
    "These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet," Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water.
    "They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt," he said, referring to the character from Star Wars. "They are flat and have eyes that float above the water. They have skin flaps coming off their arms and legs."
    Bickford's Indonesian colleague, Djoko Iskandar, first came across the frog 30 years ago and has been searching for it ever since. He didn't know the frog was lungless until they cut eight of the specimens open in the lab.
    Graeme Gillespie, director of conservation and science at Zoos Victoria in Australia, called the frog "evolutionarily unique." He said the eight specimens examined in the lab showed the lunglessness was consistent with the species and not "a freak of nature." Gillespie was not a member of the expedition or the research team.
    Bickford surmised that the frog had evolved to adapt to its difficult surroundings, in which it has to navigate cold, rapidly moving streams that are rich in oxygen.
    "It's an extreme adaptation that was probably brought about by these fast-moving streams," Bickford said, adding that it probably needed to reduce its buoyancy in order to keep from being swept down the mountainous rivers.
    He said the frog could help scientists understand the environmental factors that contribute to "extreme evolutionary change" since its closest relative in the Philippines and other frogs have lungs.
    Bickford and Gillespie said the frog's discovery adds urgency to the need to protect its river habitat, which in recent years has become polluted due to widespread illegal logging and gold mining. Once-pristine waters are now brown and clogged with silt, they said.
    "The gold mining is completely illegal and small scale. But when there are thousands of them on the river, it really has a huge impact," Bickford said. "Pretty soon the frogs will run out of the river."


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    swords's Avatar
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    If they're rare why do they need to dissect 8 and not just one?

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    Neps_N_Things's Avatar
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    Probably because scientists always criticize other scientists work so you have to be sure what you report is correct or you'll be torn apart. It has to be that way to keep false information from being spread. Just like the article implied if they hadn't dissected eight someone would have said it was just that one mutant frog with no lungs

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    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    cool, they are flat!!
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    http://grwlist.notlong.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    If they're rare why do they need to dissect 8 and not just one?
    It takes 8 to make a nice salad.
    My Grow List

    "It is only by studying nature that can we ever hope to defeat it."

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    Always a newbie glider14's Avatar
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    it sounds like that one frog found in Lake Titicaca in Peru...the one that breaths through its skin. its looks like old leather and like this one. eyes on top of its head.

    Alex
    Everything is explainable. The seemingly unexplainable is but a result of our insufficient knowledge.- Hans Brewer

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    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    if it is so rare why can't they use a miniture version of those xray things. IMR right? I keep drawing a black there.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I'd guess a lot of amphibian biologists are a little jaded. If you've ever had to go survey breeding populations of frogs you'll notice that most varieties reproduce by the hundreds or thousands - there's an exceedingly slim chance any one frog will make it to adulthood. As a species, most frogs expect for the vast majority of each generation to die early. (Lots of things eat frogs.) Doesn't really justify it, but you can see how one might place a higher priority on their work when the population in question is so outrageously fecund.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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