Happy Frog Jumping Day!
Friends, it's time once again to celebrate our friends the frogs on Thursday's not-really-a-holiday-but-sort-of-a-holiday, Frog Jumping Day!
In honor of the humble amphibians' impressive jumping skills, we present the above video, which shows a jump in slow motion, allowing you to take in all the tiny movements that, under normal circumstances, happen too quickly for the eye to register.
According to vertebrate paleontologist Darren Naish, modern-day frogs "have very long legs, strongly modified hip bones and very short bodies that enable them to be expert leapers," which distinguishes them from the early proto-frogs whose fossilized remains have been studied by scientists. Those specimens "had rather longer bodies and shorter legs and may have been good walkers, but for reasons we don't quite understand, the leaping specializations came to be more important," Naish explains.
Whatever the evolutionary reasons behind frog jumping, it certainly is an entertaining thing to watch, as evidenced by the popularity of Calaveras County's Jumping Frog Jubilee, to be held this weekend. (If you're wondering, the Jubilee's longest recorded frog jump was made by a creature called Rosie the Ribeter in 1986. Rosie's winning jump was more than 21 feet in length.)
-- Lindsay Barnett
Video: A frog jumping as seen in a slow-motion video provided by the University of Cincinnati's Biological Sciences department. Credit: jaynebc1 via YouTube