Deep in the heart of the jungles of Borneo a new frog has been found that is rocking the very foundations of frog biology the world over. Why? Because, for God’s sake, it has no lungs. Instead, it gets all the oxygen it needs by absorbing it through its skin.
Can you do me a favor real quick and blow cigarette smoke on me.
The frog- Barbourula kalimantanensis -was actually discovered 30 years ago, but only one known specimen had been collected, and no one thought to dissect it. The speedy, little, two inch-long, creatures proved…
…very difficult to find and catch. With a team of eleven researchers David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore, finally caught a specimen after two weeks of looking. Without lungs, the frogs other internal organs- spleen, liver, etc. -have moved up to where the lungs would have been, and it is able to flatten itself more fully than other frogs.
The frogs live in cold rivers, high in oxygen content, high enough, perhaps, to absorb all you need from the water. The researchers are also speculating that the lack of oxygen-filled lung bags help the frog to sink to the bottom of the river, rather than float on the top where it could be eaten by predators or dashed to bits against a rock in a class five rapid just like that one guy in the movie Deliverance. Unbeknownst to the frogs, that guy went on to land many successful Hollywood roles, such as Dick Jones, Senior President of OCP in Robocop and Lt. Andrew Bogomil in the hugely popular Beverly Hills Cop trilogy. The frogs are also unaware that he’s had a pretty respectable run as a folk singer/songwriter as well. You win this round, Ronny Cox.
Please put down your weapon. You have 10 seconds to comply.