Scientists in Borneo have been “gasping for air” according to New Scientist. Ironic, as they’ve discovered a frog that doesn’t have any lungs at all, but rather absorbs oxygen through its skin.
This biological wonder, however, is quickly running out of places where it can safely respire, thanks to pollution from gold mines in the area.
Barbourula Kalimantanensis, a Bornean flat-headed frog without a common name, was originally discovered in the 1970s, but scientists had no idea until now that the creature had no lungs – a rarity among amphibians, who have to breathe air on a semi-regular basis.
This particular frog seems to have gotten away with a lung-less existence due to the speed with which the water in inhabits flows, allowing for a constant supply of oxygen to pass over the frog’s body, not horribly unlike the workings of our own vascular systems.
Unfortunately, this novel creation of evolution is endangered: most of the streams producing crucial oxygen are far too polluted to support such a delicate life-from at the moment and we may lose a unique creature, only just after having found it.
The scientists have already veiled their project in secrecy, due to the fact that poachers may attempt to capture the remaining wild specimens.