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The Amphibian Mystery

What do you think about when you hear the word amphibian? Frogs and toads? While they are indeed amphibians, there are many other types as well. In all, there are more than 6,500 species in the world and all are an important part of the ecosystem.

Amphibians are some of the oldest animals on the planet and their lineage can be traced back to the Devonian period and are direct off shoots of the first animals to travel from the sea to land. They are an important link between the original sea faring creatures and the reptiles.

They are also fragile creatures easily affected by changing climate and pollution. It is because of this that they are considered ecological indicators. When amphibian populations begin to decline or if the young have serious birth defects, then it's an example of pollution in the area.

After centuries of companies polluting rivers and lakes with chemicals and hazardous waste, many amphibian populations are disappearing and some are going extinct. Even in the area where I grew up, there is an endangered frog population that is declining despite efforts for preservation.

They are not being hunted by humans or predators, but instead their young are born deformed and sterile. They can't repopulate and they are dying off at an exponential rate. It's sad to think that the actions of humans from decades ago are having detrimental effects today.

In the case of the local amphibian population, it's the fertilizers from the farmers that have drained into the lakes and ground. My hope is that I can educate you about the wondrous creatures known as amphibians, so you'll appreciate their impact on the world.