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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
Until recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kept its plans for its $70 million portion of the...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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ScienceShot: 'Vanished' Toad Sighted
20 June 2012 12:15 pm
Until now, if you wanted to catch a glimpse of the Sri Lankan Kandyan dwarf toad (Adenomus kandianus), you had to turn to the history books. The warty, yellow-bellied amphibian has been gone for more than a century, first discovered in a freshwater stream in Sri Lanka in 1872 and last seen in 1876. Exhaustive surveys since then have turned up nothing. But during a 2009 effort at cataloguing the region's forests, which claim more extinct amphibians than any other nation, scientists trekking through the rugged 22,380-hectare Peak Wilderness Sanctuary one night noticed four unusual toads on rocks in a fast-flowing stream. They recorded characteristics of the toads such as size, shape, feet webbing, and skin texture and collected one of the animals to study further. Comparison of the toad with descriptions and specimens of Adenomus kandianus at the British Museum matched, and the toad's physical characteristics and genetics failed to match any other known toad. A second trip to the area yielded discovery of more than 100 of the toads in an area of 200 square meters, the scientists report this month in Zootaxa. The toad's small habitat range and similar appearance to a more common amphibian—the torrent toad (Adenomus dasi)—are likely what helped it elude scientists for so long. While it will no longer be considered extinct, the Kandyan dwarf toad will still be endangered due to the small number that were found and the increasing human encroachment into Sri Lankan forests.
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