Monday, 30 December 2013

Here’s where to go if you want to find a deformed frog

More than a decade ago, way back in 1995, a group of middle school students visited a wetland in Minnesota and found something kind of creepy: a population of deformed frogs, with missing or shrunken limbs. This wasn’t just bad news for the frogs, as the Anchorage Daily News reports: “Scientists consider frogs to be barometers for the health of wetlands because they absorb liquid and gas through their skin, so they literally breathe their environment.”

If there were frogs missing legs, that meant the wetland probably wasn’t doing so hot. And the Fish and Wildlife Service started worrying this might be true, elsewhere, too. So the agency convinced Congress to fund “the largest national study of frog deformities ever conducted.” Scientists visited 152 wildlife refuges across the country and checked out 68,000 frogs for general weirdness.

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