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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Kermit the Frog Rules

Kermit the Frog is the undisputed leader of the Muppets and his presence dates back to 1955. He’s the only Muppet to be featured prominently of The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Kermit the Frog is used here as a symbol for all sorts of frogs (and toads), which play an important role in medical science. If you think back to middle school or high school, you likely had to dissect a frog in science class to learn about different parts of the body. For many children, this spurred further interest in the inner workings of the body and turned many on to the biological sciences.  

Observations of frog deaths and body malformations in frogs have been taken by some to be warnings of possible environmental effects on humans. Scientists have also genetically engineered headless tadpoles, which led to speculation that headless people may be genetically created in the future for organ donation harvest. Frogs have been used to study the effects of space flight, which include changes in the lungs, tails, growth, and behavior. Although frogs may sound like perpetual victims (it’s not easy being green), they are actually a resilient species, being one of the unexpected survivors from the Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption. In fact, the western toad experienced a population boom there because they fed of the algae that resulted from the lack of lakeshore trees and because their predators (snakes and birds) had not yet recovered. The findings helped ecologists better understand the resilience of some species and ways that some species can survive natural disasters. Yes, folks, Kermit the Frog truly rules and science owes him a lot.

If you liked this entry, you may also like Cookie Monster is Not Autsitic

Reference: Am J Med Genet. 2001 Nov 22;104(2):99-100. Is Kermit the frog in trouble? Cohen MM Jr

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