It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
The enigmatic amphibian, dubbed Barbourula kalimantanensis, apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin...
"At first I did not believe that the frogs had no lungs, but then, we just kept on seeing the evidence pile up. I was flabbergasted," Bickford said...
The loss of lungs has been known to occur two other times in all the creatures with backbones that have waddled onto land across geologic time...
Scientists first saw one of these frogs 30 years ago, but due to their rarity, just one other specimen had been collected since then and neither had been dissected.
"No one thought to open them up — there was no real reason to believe that they could be lungless," said researcher David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. "Because these specimens were so rare, they had never been dissected. If you have just one specimen in your museum, you don't want to rip it open!"
"I was just going to be happy if we simply rediscovered the frogs," Bickford said. "It had been 30 years of intermittent searching for this frog until we could put together a multinational team and get to the last remaining areas where it could realistically be found."
"Having the undeniable privilege of going out to these remote sites, seeing some of the last and greatest treasures that exist in the wild, and then getting to study them — well, every day I feel lucky."
"There are so many difficulties in field work, and yet it remains my biggest joy," Bickford added. "Having the undeniable privilege of going out to these remote sites, seeing some of the last and greatest treasures that exist in the wild, and then getting to study them — well, every day I feel lucky."
As the researchers were doing initial dissections of the frogs as they caught them in the field, they were surprised to discover these amphibians lacked lungs.
"At first I did not believe that the frogs had no lungs, but then, we just kept on seeing the evidence pile up. I was flabbergasted," Bickford said.
The physiology of frogs is generally like that of other amphibians (and differs from other terrestrial vertebrates) because oxygen can pass through their highly permeable skin. This unique feature allows frogs to "breathe" largely through their skin. Because the oxygen is dissolved in an aqueous film on the skin and passes from there to the blood, the skin must remain moist at all times; this makes frogs susceptible to many toxins in the environment, some of which can similarly dissolve in the layer of water and be passed into their bloodstream. This may be cause of the decline in frog populations.