Archive for the -Science News Category

Wolverine- A Frog Prince?

Posted in -Science News, UNDER THE APPLE TREE: with tags , , , on June 7, 2008 by redshiftblue

Havard biologists led by David Blackburn have discovered that Wolverine was not the only creature capable of extruding convenient claws from his body. A frog species, Trichobatrachus robustus has been observed to produce bony structures which burst from its skin in response to an outside threat. It seems that the end of the claw is attached to muscle so that a contraction of the muscle causes it to push through the frogs skin.

The mechanism cannot be understood fully, since Blackburn and his team have only studied dead specimens. The researchers, who work in the University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, speculate that the claws (which are entirely bone and not coated by the usual keratin layer), would retract upon relaxation of the muscles. Like the famous X-Man himself, one would hope that the wounds produced by the claws can heal after retraction. In fact, tissue regeneration does not seem all that unlikely, considering it has already been observed in other amphibians such as salamanders.

In addition to this strange defence mechanism, the frogs also sport a hairy exterior during breeding times.


The hairs are actually a mix of skin and arteries sprouting from the skin, possibly in order to increase surface area available for oxygen update. Or who knows, maybe it’s just that the ladies love the hirsute look. God knows it worked for Sean Connery…