Turtle Frogs

Turtle frog!Ladies and gentlemen: turtle frogs.

Yep, you heard me right. Turtle frogs. Nature’s middle finger to those of us who thought we understood evolution well enough to get by. Arenophrynde rotunda, the Northern Sandhill Frog and Myobatrachus gouldii, the Western Australian frog. I’m told there exists a Southern Sandhill Frog, a.k.a. A. xiphorhyncha, but so little is known about it that I would feel silly pointing you to a reference.

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but neither is it a matter of simply being lazy.

Meanwhile, if you want to read up on M. gouldii, the Western Australian Museum has an excellent paper from Marion Antsis, Dale Roberts, and Ronald Altig on neobatrachial reproduction.

Meanwhile, see also:

Western Australia Museum: Frogwatch

Real Monstrosities, “Turtle Frog”

Wikipedia: Sandhill frog

Wikipedia: Myobatrachus goldii

Wikipedia: Neobatrachia

Brain Candy for Chimps: No, Really

File under, “Hmph.”

No, really, I don’t know what to say, so let us just check in with Pallab Ghosh, for BBC:

My name is Tomas ....A study has shown that anti-depressants can be used to help former lab chimps combat depression and trauma.

Researchers say that the treatment should be considered for hundreds of other chimps that have been used in scientific research.

The finding comes as a US funding body thinks about retiring the more than 300 chimps it uses for medical research.

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Spiders!Science does have its creepy side. Then again, why would it not? Still, perhaps the phrase raining spiders ought to serve as a warning about what comes next.

And while the idea of spiders falling from the sky like rain is not entirely accurate, well, you get the picture. Arachnophobes might want to skip Nadia Drake’s report for Wired Science:

When 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis left a friend’s house on Sunday, he saw what looked like thousands of spiders overhead, reported G1, a Brazilian news site, on Feb. 8. The large, sturdy spiders were hanging from power lines and poles, and crawling around on a vast network of silk strands spun over the town of Santo Antonio da Platina.

Social spidersReis did what many of us might do: He pulled out his camera and shot a video of spiders seemingly falling from the sky.

As creeptastic is it may be, “The phenomenon observed is not really surprising,” said Leticia Aviles, who studies social spiders at the University of British Columbia. “Either social or colonial spiders may occur in large aggregations, as the one shown in the video.” The reason, she and others say, is simple: This is how they hunt.

Er … yeah. I’m not a fan of spiders. Ironically, I had a dream the night before I saw this article that had something to do with a staggering number of spiders. I have no idea why, or what it means. Forgive me, please, if I haven’t paused to dwell on the Freudian or Jungian interpretive values involved.

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