This Day in Death

11.27.13: Northern Darwin’s Frog – DEAD! Or “EXTINCT!,” I Guess.

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:17 am November 27, 2013

NORTHERN_DARWIN'S_FROGWell, at least we can rule out “being too handsome for nature” as a cause of death. YOU JUST GOT SLAMMED, YOU SLIMEY RHINODERMATID POINDEXTER! Actually, he died from a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis and we respectfully regret the loss.

You know, here at the TDiD we care about the environment, and also sometimes don’t have much to write about. Those two things seem to have a serious correlation going on, I should look into what that’s about. Anyway, when eco-guilt and barrel-scraping bodyslam each other we sometimes like to acknowledge that animals die, too. Oh sure, they may not be dying the romantic death of a wealthy, human-trafficking sheik who just got ambushed by a father out to rescue his abducted daughter amidst a hail of broken glass and catchphrases, but they’re out there dying pointless deaths just the same. Maybe they fell off a cliff because they’re stupid, or flew into a closed window because they’re moronic, or maybe they caught some weird fungal disease, like the Northern Darwin’s frog just did. Not very glamorous, but at least there’s some exclusivity to it; very few species have ever died out via infection. The last known example being, of course, the North American Spotted Herpes sheep. Yes, we all enjoyed kissing them at the petting zoo, but little did we know we were actually kissing them goodbye.

Chytrid disease, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been killing amphibians worldwide during the past two decades. An outbreak of the illness was first discovered in frogs in Queensland, Australia, in 1993, although it may have been present in other amphibian species for longer.

Fun fact: Male Darwin frogs keep their tadpoles in their vocal pouch until they’re old enough to jump out of the mouth and leave their father, probably to go backpacking through Europe and really “find themselves.” They’re the creepy nesting dolls of nature. Not that any of that matters anymore, since the Northern species is dead and the Southern is on the ropes. You probably should’ve appreciated them more while they were still around, like cargo shorts. Yes sir, not much you couldn’t carry with you in a good pair of cargo shorts. Your keys. Maybe some trail mix for later. Assorted coins. A small flashlight. A pair of sunglasses if you didn’t want to just hang them from the front of your shirt while you’re not wearing them. Probably one or two other things.

Source: National Geographic

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