Did you know the now extinct gastric-brooding frog barfed up its babies? Yep, two species of these frogs, which lived in Queensland, Australia and became extinct in the 1980s, were unique among frogs because they incubated and hatched their eggs within the female's stomach. Really.
Let's break it down. Like other frogs, female gastric-brooding frogs laid their eggs, then the males fertilized them outside of the female's body. That's just how frogs do it, and it's normal. But then, with these frogs, things got strange. Next, the females swallowed the fertilized eggs... about 40 of them!
Hey! Wouldn't the female's stomach digest the eggs and kill them? Sure, except that these frog eggs secreted a chemical that made the mother's stomach stop producing hydrochloric acid. Well, that means the mother couldn't eat anything the entire time the eggs were incubating in her stomach and while the baby frogs were growing—more than six weeks.
Obviously, the mother's stomach got pretty large as the young grew. So large that her lungs were smashed, and she had to breathe through her skin instead.
When the babies became fully-formed frogs, the mother would barf them up, usually one at a time. But, if the mother was disturbed by something, she would projectile vomit all the babies out at once.
Unfortunately, gastric-brooding frogs went extinct due to human destruction of their habitat and human introduction of a disease-causing fungus. Amazingly, scientists are making good progress in bringing these frogs back, using a specific kind of cloning called somatic-cell nuclear transfer. In fact, in 2013, they produced a living embryo using preserved tissue from dead gastric-brooding frogs. That embryo didn't survive, but one of the scientists has stated: "We do expect to get this guy hopping again."
- Gastric-brooding frog - screenshot from YouTube video
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