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Swift
2009-May-08, 07:06 PM
From CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/05/06/eco.madagascar.frogs/index.html)

(CNN) -- Around 200 new species of frogs have been found in Madagascar, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.

A study identified between 129 and 221 new species of frogs on the island. The Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC), who carried out the study, believe the find could practically double the number of amphibians known in the world if the results are extrapolated at a global scale.

I'm sure you all are shocked that I find this very interesting. ;)

PraedSt
2009-May-08, 07:28 PM
I'm sure you all are shocked that I find this very interesting. ;)
I'm catching flies. :D

No seriously- good article, thanks.

mugaliens
2009-May-10, 12:28 PM
I do find it interesting, but am wondering how one would extrapolate the finding globally from a biodiversity hotspot to the rest of the world, of which many areas are comparitively sparse, biodiversically speaking.

PraedSt
2009-May-11, 06:32 PM
Let's call this the Frog Thread.

Ultrasound communication in frogs discovered (http://www.physorg.com/news161256967.html)


While most of the more than 5,000 frog species worldwide have eardrums that are flat on the side of the head, Huia cavitympanum has eardrums recessed in the side of the skull, similar to mammals.

Narins and Arch have an idea about why the frogs, which live along a noisy stream, use both ultrasonic communication and calls that are audible to humans.

"Our hypothesis is that these frogs have shifted to use higher frequencies in their communication to avoid the interference of sound produced by rushing water in the lower-frequency range," Arch said

geonuc
2009-May-15, 11:06 AM
From CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/05/06/eco.madagascar.frogs/index.html)

I'm sure you all are shocked that I find this very interesting. ;)
Two hundred species?!

Can that be right, or are they taking liberties defining what constitutes a different species?

PraedSt
2009-May-15, 11:56 AM
Two hundred species?!

Can that be right, or are they taking liberties defining what constitutes a different species?
There was an article in The Economist about this a few years ago. They called it species inflation. According to them, a part of the increase in new species can be explained by 'dodgy' reasons. Two dodgy reasons to be specific, and they are somewhat interrelated:

1. It increases the numbers of rare species, and increases the biodiversity of the particular environment. This increases claims for protection, for both species and said environment.
2. Money! More research grants.

I couldn't find the Economist article, bit I found a 'meta-reference' here (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/taxome/jim/Sp/taxinfl.html).

Of course, most of it is probably due to good reasons- more zoologists, better genetic data, etc. Non-bogus, to use a term currently in vogue on another thread. :)

geonuc
2009-May-15, 12:00 PM
Totally bogus, man. ;)

As I recall, one of the criteria for declaring two critters to be of different species is a lack of interbreeding. Have these scientists spent enough time in froggie bedrooms to say that with these 200 species? Or perhaps that's not a hard and fast criterion anymore.

HenrikOlsen
2009-May-15, 01:09 PM
Totally bogus, man. ;)

As I recall, one of the criteria for declaring two critters to be of different species is a lack of interbreeding. Have these scientists spent enough time in froggie bedrooms to say that with these 200 species? Or perhaps that's not a hard and fast criterion anymore.
It's not hard and fast anymore.

The problem is that speciation is gradual, with a continuum ranging from breeds regularly, over occasionally breeds, through could but don't, not stopping at can but offspring is often sterile, past can but offspring is always sterile, all the way to no viable offspring.

It used to be that species where defined simply as can't interbreed, but then the picture got complicated by such things as ring species and the discovery of cases where two superficially similar groups of animals don't interbreed even though they theoretically could and as a result have distinct features when you look for them.
Examples of the latter is the robust/gracile chimpanzee/bonobo split in and the similar split in the African elephants which is now also considered two species, one savanna and one forest dwelling.
Gibbons have also had a species split into two fairly recently when it was realized that they never interbreed in the wild because they have different mating-calls even though they look the same.

winensky
2009-May-17, 09:57 AM
This will put a temporary dent in the total species extinction rate. And imagine the possible prince options.