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Frog without lungs found in Indonesia

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"They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt"



BANGKOK, Thailand - 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."




don't really see resemblance to Jabba the hutt

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  • 2 years later...
those massive frogs are fucked


and them ones with holes on there back that babys come out of


watched life in cold blood about amphibs, was pretty nuts.


I love me some frogs/toads but that back baby thing made me think I had things under my skin


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