Fossil prehistoric amphibians died young


This 2011 video is called 360 Million Year Old Tetrapod Acanthostega.

From Science News:

Preteen tetrapods identified by bone scans

Improved technique suggests large four-limbed Acanthostega were still juveniles

By Susan Milius

1:00pm, September 7, 2016

Better bone scanning of fossils offers a glimpse of preteen life some 360 million years ago.

Improved radiation scanning techniques reveal accumulating growth zones in chunks of four fossil upper forelimb bones from salamander-shaped beasts called Acanthostega, scientists report online September 7 in Nature. Vertebrate bones typically show annual growth zones diminishing in size around the time of sexual maturity. But there’s no sign of that slowdown in these four individuals from East Greenland’s mass burial of Acanthostega, says study coauthor Sophie Sanchez of Uppsala University in Sweden. They were still juveniles.

The bones came from tropical Greenland of the Devonian Period. Aquatic vertebrates were developing four limbs, which would serve tetrapods well when vertebrates eventually conquered land. This mass die-off doomed at least 20 individuals, presumably when a dry spell after a flood trapped them all in a big, vanishing puddle.

This find makes the strongest case yet for identifying genuine youngsters among ancient tetrapods, Sanchez says. She suspects other individuals trapped could have been juveniles too.

Not many other species were found in the mass burial. So young tetrapods may have stuck together much as today’s young fish schools, Sanchez speculates. The limb shape clearly indicates that the youngsters took a long time to start adding hard bone to the initial soft cartilage, she says. So these early tetrapods were at least 6-year-olds and probably 10 years old or more.

For identifying stages of life, the improved technique “allows greater resolution and rigor, so in that regard it is a plus,” says Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago, who studies a fossil fish with some tetrapod-like features called Tiktaalik. There are Tiktaalik preteens, too, he notes.

What interests Nadia Fröbisch of Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin is that some of Acanthostega individuals were different sizes but had reached the same stage of bone development. She muses that they might even have been developing along different trajectories of growth, a flexibility that would be useful in a changeable environment.

Dragonfly couple escapes from death


In this video, a dragonfly couple, after mating, still hold on to each other until the female will have deposited her eggs under water.

An edible frog tries to eat them, but just misses.

Geertje in the Netherlands made this 6 September 2016 video.

European bison benefit natterjack toads


This 2016 video is called Re-wilding Europe, One Bison at a Time.

Translated from ARK Natuurontwikkeling in the Netherlands:

Natterjack toads benefit of bison in Maashorst

21 August 2016 – In the North Brabant province nature reserve Maashorst nature is in full swing. Recently European bison were introduced there. Along with Exmoor ponies and Tauros cattle they graze the grasslands, heaths and forests of the Maashorst. With their grazing and digging they provide spaces for other species such as the natterjack toad.

This 2014 Dutch video is about Tauros cattle: an attempt to breed the extinct aurochs back.

New frog species discovery in Peru


Sleeping beauty rain frog, photo Germán Chávez

From Science, Space & Robots:

Newly Discovered Rain Frog Named After Sleeping Beauty Mountains

Posted on August 11, 2016

A new species of rain frog has been discovered in the premontane forests of the Peruvian central Andes. The frog has been named after the Sleeping Beauty mountains. This is the local name for the mountains where the frog lives. The Bella Durmiente (Sleeping beauty) mountain chain … is named for its resemblance to a sleeping woman.

The frog’s scientific name is Pristimantis pulchridormientes. “Pulcher” is Latin for beautiful and “dormientes” means sleeping. The common name for the new frog species is Sleeping beauty rain frog.

The frog has bright-red groins, shanks and thighs. It has a yellowish-brown body. The frog was discovered and described by Drs German Chavez, Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), and Alessandro Catenazzi, affiliated with both CORBIDI and Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Chavez says in the announcement, “When we heard the chorus of males, first thought was: such a strange call! When we saw this amazing frog, we knew that it is a new species. No other frog has that bright red colour on rear limbs!”

A research paper on the newly discovered frog species can be found here in the journal ZooKeys.

Polecat eats frog, video


This video shows a polecat with a frog, at the Kaaistoep nature reserve in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Martijn de Boer made this video.

Birds, damselflies, frog in the Netherlands


This 26 July 2016 video shows various bird species, including spoonbills, great crested grebes and white storks, and an edible frog and mating blue-tailed damselflies in the Blauwe Kamer nature reserve in Utrecht province in the Netherlands.

Edible frogs in Dutch Veluwe region


This 21 July 2016 video shows edible frogs in the Dutch Veluwe region.