The Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) was unlike any other species on planet Earth. Inhabiting only the forests of Panama, the frog had enormously charismatic brown eyes, and feet so oversized they looked cartoonish. But what made the frog truly special was the way it looked after its tadpoles. The Rabbs’ was the only known frog in the world where tadpoles would eat the literal flesh of their fathers’ back to survive their early days of life. That’s right: Dads could feed their offspring with their own flesh.
You can think of it as a clever invention, wrought by evolution. Nature is filled with these quirks of survival, which can take hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years, to evolve. But in 2016, the very last known Rabbs’ tree frog died in an Atlanta Zoo. And with the death of the last one — a male, nicknamed Toughie — all the biological machinery that came with the frog was wiped off the face of the earth.
Source: Vox, Dec 9, 2019
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