Instead of going to church today, we can have our special Alain de Botton-Approved Religion Substitute by worshiping at the church of Our Lady of Natural History. There is in fact a wonderful new discovery about frogs, one described in a new paper in the Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society by Juan Guayasamin et al. (reference and free link below; there’s also a precis in LiveScience).
I can state the results concisely: the authors found a new species of frog in Ecuador that can dramatically change its body shape from spiky to smooth in a matter of only a few minutes. They then found another species, somewhat but not extremely closely related to the first, that can do the same thing. This kind of change in morphology, induced by the environment, is called phenotypic plasticity. And its observation in the frogs suggests two conclusions:
1. A lot…
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