More news from:  Science  |  Environment  |  Health
Science

Science

(Photo By David C. Blackburn)

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Monday, June 30, 2008

WELL ARMED WITH THEIR TOES

Talk about concealed weapons: Harvard University biologists have discovered that some species of African frogs can puncture the skin of their toes with sharp, hooked bones and use them as claws to fight off predators. They noted the previously unknown defense mechanism when doctoral student David C. Blackburn picked up one of the fist-size amphibians in Cameroon, only to get a bloody scratch when the frog violently kicked its hind legs. He and colleagues reported in the journal Biology Letters that they later identified 11 species with the ability to flex a muscle that projects the sharp bone right through the skin when threatened -- unlike a cat's claw, which projects through a specialized sheath.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity