Frog Extinct For 140 Years Turns Up Alive And Well
We thought these frogs had been wiped off the face of the earth long ago, but we were searching for them in the wrong places.
For over a century, we combed the ground-level of the northern Indian forests for any sign of the elusive amphibian - but we should've been looking above our heads.
You're staring into the eyes of a Frankixalus. Congratulations, you're among the first humans to do so in roughly 140 years.
They're an interesting bunch, no doubt. Aside from eating their own mother's eggs as tadpoles, their DNA shows a drastically different line of ancestry than other tree frogs in the northern Indian forest.
That's why scientists from the University of Delhi are calling Frankixalus an entirely new genus of frog. Which is pretty amazing, because while those who paid attention in high-school biology don't need a reminder, for the rest of us ... a genus is one rank higher than a species in the taxonomy of animals.
But it's not the frogs' DNA that kept them hidden since 1870. It's their unusual home. While most tree-dwelling frogs inhabit holes closer to the ground, the Frankixalus select holes about 20 feet up the tree.
Another reason they were believed to be extinct for so long is the sad fact that there simply aren't many scientists exploring those forests, despite being globally recognized as hot spots for some of the most diverse array of creatures.
To make matters worse, some of the forests where the team initially tracked the frogs in 2007 have already been decimated due to agricultural development.
"This is an exciting find, but it doesn't mean the frogs are safe," one of the leading scientists from the research team told the Guardian.
Hopefully, the discovery will lead to more scientific exploration of these biodiversity hotspots before more of the forests' species really do become extinct.