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Elusive long-fingered frog found after 62 years
www.physorg.com ^ | 03-27-2012 | Provided by California Academy of Sciences

Posted on 03/27/2012 12:18:39 PM PDT by Red Badger

Herpetologists from the California Academy of Sciences and University of Texas at El Paso discovered a single specimen of the Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila) during a research expedition to Burundi in December 2011. The frog was last seen by scientists in 1949 and was feared to be extinct after decades of turmoil in the tiny East African nation.

For biologists studying the evolution and distribution of life in Africa, Burundi sits at an intriguing geographic crossroads since it borders the vast Congo River Basin, the Great Rift Valley, and the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika. Many of the species in its high-elevation forests may be closely related to plants and animals found in Cameroon's mountains, suggesting that at some point in the past, a cooler climate may have allowed the forests to become contiguous.

Previous knowledge of Burundi's wildlife came from scientific surveys conducted in the mid-20th century, when the nation was under Belgian administration. But its history since then has been one of political unrest, population growth, and habitat loss. Today, approximately 10 million people occupy an area the size of Massachusetts, giving Burundi one of the highest population densities in Africa.

Academy curator David Blackburn joined his colleague Eli Greenbaum, professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, on the 2011 expedition with the goal of finding Cardioglossa cyaneospila, as well as other amphibians and reptiles first described 60 years ago. To their pleasant surprise, the habitats of the Bururi Forest Reserve in the southwest part of the country were still relatively intact, with populations of rare forest birds and chimpanzees present.

With little knowledge to go on except a hunch that C. cyaneospila would make a call like its possible close relatives in Cameroon, Blackburn finally found a single specimen on his fifth night in the forest.

"I thought I heard the call and walked toward it, then waited," said Blackburn. "In a tremendous stroke of luck, I casually moved aside some grass and the frog was just sitting there on a log. I heard multiple calls over the next few nights, indicating a healthy population of the species, but I was only able to find this one specimen."

The Bururi long-fingered frog is about 1.5 inches long, with a black and bluish-gray coloration. The males are notable for one extra-long finger on each foot, analogous to the "ring finger" in humans, whose purpose is unknown. Its closest relatives live in the mountains of Cameroon, more than 1,400 miles away.

The lone specimen collected, which now resides in the Academy's herpetology collection, can be used for DNA studies to determine how long the Cardioglossa species from Burundi and Cameroon have been genetically isolated from one another. The results will shed light on Africa's historical climate conditions, a topic that has far-reaching implications for understanding the evolution of life in the continent that gave rise to our own species.

In addition to locating the Bururi long-fingered frog, Blackburn and Greenbaum also documented dozens of other amphibians in Burundi, many of which had never before been recorded in the country. The team also discovered some species that may be new to science.

"Eventually, we will use the data from our expedition to update the IUCN conservation assessment for amphibians of Burundi," said Greenbaum. "Because Burundi is poorly explored, we've probably doubled the number of amphibian species known from the country. Once we demonstrate that Burundi contains rare and endemic species, we can work with the local community to make a strong case for preserving their remaining natural habitats."


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: animals; biology; burundi; frog; godsgravesglyphs; rainforest; reptile; science

The Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila) from Burundi is about 1.5 inches long with a black and bluish-gray coloration. Credit: David Blackburn


1 posted on 03/27/2012 12:18:46 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger
Neener Frog
2 posted on 03/27/2012 12:23:10 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1162 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: Red Badger

I’ve been worried about him.


3 posted on 03/27/2012 12:24:08 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: Red Badger

Absolutely ribeting article, Red One.


4 posted on 03/27/2012 12:24:41 PM PDT by tumblindice (our new, happy lives, thanks to Big Bro')
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To: Red Badger

Ya need a long finger to pick yer frog-nose.


5 posted on 03/27/2012 12:29:58 PM PDT by eCSMaster (Conservative patriots, Rise up!)
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To: beaversmom

Here in Florida, I find frogs all the time.......usually dried up husks desiccating on my window ledges............


6 posted on 03/27/2012 12:32:18 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
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To: Red Badger
Once we demonstrate that Burundi contains rare and endemic species, we can work with the local community to make a strong case for preserving their remaining natural habitats.

And the locals can say goodbye to what freedoms they enjoyed. The frog was "feared" to be extinct for over 65 years, and they've been doing fine without scientists poking around and bothering them.

The frogs and the humans are now really imperiled!

7 posted on 03/27/2012 12:35:17 PM PDT by FoxInSocks ("Hope is not a course of action." -- M. O'Neal, USMC)
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To: Red Badger

8 posted on 03/27/2012 12:36:01 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Red Badger
They were surprised by the fact that it smelled like a pig.

.

.

.

9 posted on 03/27/2012 12:50:00 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (I tried to buy a hoodie today but the store manager said they had all been shoplifted.)
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To: Red Badger

Feared to be extinct...but he killed it anyway?


10 posted on 03/27/2012 12:55:20 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: Jeff Chandler

LOLOL, that’s pic is a take off on an old and very, very dirty joke :^)


11 posted on 03/27/2012 12:55:44 PM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Newt......Nuff said.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

12 posted on 03/27/2012 12:57:23 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
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To: Red Badger
Elusive long-fingered frog found after 62 years

Witness protection system? Some toad musta ratted on him.....

13 posted on 03/27/2012 12:59:36 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (No matter what you post here, someone's going to get pissed off......)
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To: ladyjane

He claims to care about the frog, but he strips it of its identity and refers to it as a “specimen.”

The frog “resides” in the collection, and I wonder whether it’s dead or not — the writer didn’t specify.


14 posted on 03/27/2012 1:01:33 PM PDT by FoxInSocks ("Hope is not a course of action." -- M. O'Neal, USMC)
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To: Jeff Chandler

HA!


15 posted on 03/27/2012 1:22:05 PM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To the left the truth looks Right-Wing.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Please, no more pics of Meghan McCain on FR.


16 posted on 03/27/2012 1:52:42 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj
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To: Red Badger
Photobucket
17 posted on 03/27/2012 1:55:31 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: Red Badger
That's one ugly dude.


18 posted on 03/27/2012 1:56:50 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: Red Badger

Deed zomeone ask for ze long-fingered Frog?

19 posted on 03/27/2012 2:00:42 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: smokingfrog; SWAMPSNIPER; Hunton Peck

20 posted on 03/27/2012 2:10:21 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
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To: Red Badger; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Red Badger. Diet & Cuisine topic, tastes like chicken ping.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


21 posted on 03/27/2012 3:18:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: Red Badger

It’s obvious they weren’t extinct as no ecological disaster occurred. Everyone knows that when any species goes extinct the result is ecological disaster.


22 posted on 03/27/2012 5:03:34 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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