libutron:

The ‘Frog Glue’ of the Crucifix Frog 

This peculiar frog is an Australian endemic species that occurs in central inland New South Wales and the interior of southern Queensland. Its scientific name is Notaden bennettii (Myobatrachidae), and is better known as the Crucifix Frog or Holy Cross Frog because of the pattern of dark spots on its back resembling a cross.

Notaden bennettii is a fossorial frog, it means that is adapted to spend most of its life underground. They only emerge after heavy rains and breed in temporary pools.

Frogs of this species (and also of N. melanoscaphus and N. nichollsi)  produce an exudate, secreted by glands on their backs, that quickly sets into an adhesive and elastic material. They secrete the sticky material when they are provoked, probably in an attempt to deter potential predators.

The frogs typically live 1m underground in dried mud for nine months of the year. When they emerge are vulnerable to insect attacks and so a possible use of the exudate may be to jam the jaws of biting insects like ants, sticking them to the frog’s skin, which it later sheds and eats. The exudate sets rapidly as a yellow-colored tacky elastic solid, and sticks well even in the frog’s moist habitat.

Preliminary studies of this adhesive, which is biocompatible, have shown its several useful potential properties for medical applications.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©paulhypnos  |  [Top]  -  [Bottom]

Locality: Australia

dendroica:

Ancient hedgehog and tapir once inhabited British Columbia

The Earth has experienced many dramatic changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago. One of the warmest periods was the early Eocene Epoch, 50 to 53 million years ago. During this interval, North American mammal communities were quite distinct from those of today. This is illustrated by a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that describes an ancient hedgehog and tapir that lived in what is now Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia, some 52 million years ago.
"Within Canada, the only other fossil localities yielding mammals of similar age are from the Arctic, so these fossils from British Columbia help fill a significant geographic gap," said Dr. Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature, a co-author of the study. Other fossils of this age come from Wyoming and Colorado, some 2,700 miles to the south of the Arctic site of Ellesmere Island.
The ancient hedgehog is a species hitherto unknown to science. It is named Silvacola acares, which means “tiny forest dweller,” since this minute hedgehog likely had a body length of only 2 to 2.5 inches. The delicate fossil jaw of Silvacola was not freed from the surrounding rock as is typical for fossils. Rather, it was scanned with an industrial, high resolution CT (computed tomography) scanner at Penn State University so it could be studied without risking damage to its tiny teeth. Modern hedgehogs and their relatives are restricted to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The other mammal discovered at the site, Heptodon, is an ancient relative of modern tapirs, which resemble small rhinos with no horns and a short, mobile, trunk or proboscis.
“Heptodon was about half the size of today’s tapirs, and it lacked the short trunk that occurs on later species and their living cousins. Based upon its teeth, it was probably a leaf-eater, which fits nicely with the rainforest environment indicated by the fossil plants at Driftwood Canyon,” said Dr. Jaelyn Eberle of the University of Colorado, lead author of the study.

(via ScienceDaily)
Photo: This image shows the teeth (above and middle) and a side view of the lower jaw (below) of Heptodon, an ancient cousin to tapirs, found in early Eocene (52-million-year-old) rocks of northern British Columbia. This extinct mammal was about half the size of today’s tapirs. Credit: Jaelyn J. Eberle, Natalia Rybczynski, and David R. Greenwood.

dendroica:

Ancient hedgehog and tapir once inhabited British Columbia

The Earth has experienced many dramatic changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago. One of the warmest periods was the early Eocene Epoch, 50 to 53 million years ago. During this interval, North American mammal communities were quite distinct from those of today. This is illustrated by a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that describes an ancient hedgehog and tapir that lived in what is now Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia, some 52 million years ago.

"Within Canada, the only other fossil localities yielding mammals of similar age are from the Arctic, so these fossils from British Columbia help fill a significant geographic gap," said Dr. Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature, a co-author of the study. Other fossils of this age come from Wyoming and Colorado, some 2,700 miles to the south of the Arctic site of Ellesmere Island.

The ancient hedgehog is a species hitherto unknown to science. It is named Silvacola acares, which means “tiny forest dweller,” since this minute hedgehog likely had a body length of only 2 to 2.5 inches. The delicate fossil jaw of Silvacola was not freed from the surrounding rock as is typical for fossils. Rather, it was scanned with an industrial, high resolution CT (computed tomography) scanner at Penn State University so it could be studied without risking damage to its tiny teeth. Modern hedgehogs and their relatives are restricted to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The other mammal discovered at the site, Heptodon, is an ancient relative of modern tapirs, which resemble small rhinos with no horns and a short, mobile, trunk or proboscis.

Heptodon was about half the size of today’s tapirs, and it lacked the short trunk that occurs on later species and their living cousins. Based upon its teeth, it was probably a leaf-eater, which fits nicely with the rainforest environment indicated by the fossil plants at Driftwood Canyon,” said Dr. Jaelyn Eberle of the University of Colorado, lead author of the study.

(via ScienceDaily)

Photo: This image shows the teeth (above and middle) and a side view of the lower jaw (below) of Heptodon, an ancient cousin to tapirs, found in early Eocene (52-million-year-old) rocks of northern British Columbia. This extinct mammal was about half the size of today’s tapirs. Credit: Jaelyn J. Eberle, Natalia Rybczynski, and David R. Greenwood.