I know you’re stressed right now. Finals have commenced. Your grades are in jeopardy. You don’t have nearly enough time to study, but you lack any and all motivation to crack open a textbook. You haven’t slept, you’ve worn the same pants all week, and your hair could grease a litter of pigs. If you’re reading this, you’re certainly not studying, so you might as well procrastinate by learning some cool facts about amphibians. Stop thinking about finals, just relax and read this article.
A biologist named Professor Marcio Pie recently discovered three new species of toad. He was hiking through the mountains of southern Brazil with his team when he heard unfamiliar croaking. He and his team searched the mountains to find the toads making these unusual calls. Upon finding them and performing genetic testing, Professor Pie realized that they had discovered three new species of toad. Look at them! They're warty and adorable.
All three of these new species were found a cloud forest. A cloud forest is exactly what you think it is, a forest so high up on a mountain that it’s sitting in a cloud. Kind of of magical, right? Sort of like how you don’t have a final until Thursday. Are you absolutely sure your first final is on Thursday? It seems odd that your schedule would work out like that.
Anyway, here’s a picture of a cloud forest.
These newly discovered toads also have a unique method of reproduction. Many of the plants in toads’s habitat have leaved shaped in a way that allows for pools of water to form in the plant, like this.
The toads lay their eggs in these plant pools. Lady toads and gentlemen toads stand beside each other at the ceremony of Grand Illumination. Her loaded cannons fire as he shoots off a finale of fireworks, his rockets’ red glare raining glowing embers on the fallen cannon balls. Yada, yada, yada -- baby tadpoles. Isn't that amazing? All of this happens in water collected in plants. Do you remember what makes the chemical makeup of water unique? Was it hydrogen bonds, or van der Waals interactions, or both? Did it have something to do with electrons? You screwed that up on your midterm, so you should probably learn it for your chemistry exam next week.
It seems insane that in 2015 we are able to find three new species of toad on one mountain, but it’s actually not that surprising. In areas like these Brazilian cloud forests, it’s easy for small populations to become isolated and for new species to evolve. In fact, Professor Pie found seven new species of frog in Brazil last June! Yeah, one guy discovered 10 new amphibian species in less than six months. Remember what you were doing less than six months ago? You were attending the first few lectures of class for the semester. The stuff you learned way back then and everything you’ve been taught since, needs to be crammed into your brain in less than 24 hours. Wait, 21.5 hours. You sat down at a cubicle with a cup of coffee and a pile of notes, prepared to study, but here you are: two and a half hours later, reading some dumb article about amphibians that you don’t really care about, because anything’s more interesting than studying for finals.
You’re not going to start studying now, so watch this video of 33 screaming frogs.