Monster Dinosaur-dodging frog… got awful small over the years

Giant prehistoric frog
Giant prehistoric frog

A recent article in Huff Post science section talks about A giant prehistoric Frog. You get the sense of scale from the image, but apparently it turned out a whole lot scarier looking than previously thought. with dino-anti armour for example. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/devil-frog-anti-dinosaur-armor-prehistoric-species_n_4696881.html?utm_hp_ref=science#comments

Anyway, as always, it got me thinking about evolution – If you are familiar with these blogs you will know that my thoughts and research have led me to consider fairly out of the box. but perfectly scientific, alternatives to the Darwinian model which we apply to attempt to describe (without much success I should add), to the great change through time. Well I got to thinking about my last post, also to do with frogs and metamorphosis, transforming from frog spawn, into tadpoles and eventually land-hopping frogs, And I thought. OMG! what sort of frog spawn did this monster come from? And what did its Mummy & Daddy look like?… And, how the heck did it get so big and fierce and of course did it descend from smaller ordinary type frogs that we see today and those sort of questions? See article from national geographic regarding rapid evolution of lizards

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html

That’s when the penny dropped. Everything was big back then, well the plants and those old lizards were gaining great dimensions (Dinos), except of course the mammals. They were biggish and fairly primitive for mammals, but never-the-less, they were mammals (see other blogs if you think what I have just said is heresy). Now there is a phenomenon known as the island affect (Island Gigantism) which nobody has come up with an explanation for. Basically, normally small animals like amphibians, lizards (reptiles) get dramatically big, e.g present day dragons (Komodo types)  and mammals that are normally large (like elephants) get unusually small – the pygmy affect, which we know from ‘the Hobbit’ fossils in Indonesia for example, and we are not just talking about small early humans here, we are talking tiny elephant  types and giant lizards like the Dragons. Sorry I should make it clear that the Hobbit being small is my particular extrapolation of the Island affect on other mammals being applied to the early human remains, it is not the conventional interpretation. But to me it makes perfect sense in the light of my research. Anyway, I will do a blog on the Hobbit shortly. In the mean time back to the giant frogs.

So, does size have anything to do with environment? You bet it does. As I have said in other blogs,  Cold-blooded animals with simpler metabolism and other functions,  ties them into their environment and are therefore much less adaptive to environmental change, unlike mammals.However, epigenetically, as reptiles and amphibians are simpler animals than mammals, their body size can change much more dramatically to adapt to changing conditions. Conversely, Mammals are warm-blooded and more complex and they do not tend to adapt so rapidly, but have other behaviours with ensure their survival such as: they can fill niches that reptiles/amphibians can’t go; they can disappear down holes and stay there for a long time, store up fat for the winter, even hibernate/ Whereas, those poor old reptiles can’t stay out of the sun for too long and the amphibians always have to have a body of water nearby. The non-mammalian creatures are just not versatile enough.  So those simpler cold-blooded creatures as I was saying are more sensitive compared to mammals (epigenetically speaking) to being re-coded, rapidly  down to size in their developmental stage as the more recent literature would suggest. In other words, what morphs or pops out of an egg will be a great deal smaller than its parents.

So don’t worry, you are not going to encounter such an ugly beastie of giant proportions because the climate is simply not temperate enough and far too erratic  these  days. But mammals love our weather, whether or not it is clement, they adapt perfectly as much more versatile animals and can cope with environments ranging from the Arctic to the high Andes.  So when you see Mr Froggy hopping about in your long grass, just remember it was once a great contender and could even take on the best of them, keeping those old Dinos in their place.

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