People enjoy attributing human traits to animals as well as plant life, sometimes for entertainment; perhaps sometimes because they believe animals have human emotions. After initially going with this train of thought, as well as some of the examples American media has ladled out (Brian from family guy, Winifred), I found the idea of the frozen wood frog quite amusing. One need not work to broaden his imaginative horizons when all he
need do is check out any one of G-d creatures, just as they are.
The wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus), an amphibian that spans from the size of one's thumbnail to the size of a human palm, frequents most of North America choosing habitats ranging from your local forest to swamps in some places nearer to North Carolina, further south. Considering its life span of four to six years and the fact that there's a wide distribution of them, wood frogs seem like one big yawn, right? Wrong!
These slimy little frog princes have earned their place in the top ten of "weird creatures found in my neighbor's backyard" thanks to their survival tactics in subzero weather. Due to research in Alaska, America's coldest state, amazing studies have been done on these "frogsicles." At the start of September, when the temperature begins to drop, so does the wood frog's tolerance for the freezing of their blood and other tissues. "As the blood flow ends and their heart beats slow, and then stop, the frog, on an organismal level, is considered dead," says Don Larson, a graduate student at the University of Alaska. The frogs don't actually become solid bricks of ice but two thirds of their bodies do. If you pick them up, they won't move. And please don't bend a leg because it will break. A frog that is 65% frozen is still a brittle frog. They stay "dead" for around seven months, an Alaskan winter, thaw out with the spring and hop away.
G-d is incredible; scientific evidence boggles the mind. Every detail in creation is accounted for. Larson continues, "We did a study of wood frogs using radio transmitters to keep tabs on where the amphibians made their hibernacula (divots in the dead leaves near a pond or lake) for their winter hibernation. Once they were settled in, researchers placed little cages over their chilly getaway homes and thermometers to record their temperatures on a daily basis. Over the course of two years researchers discovered that none of these cold blooded creatures died.
How do they do it? Humans get frostbite when the water in the blood turns to ice. Since that hyper-concentrates the fluid around one's cells and tissues, it draws the water out of the cells, thereby causing dehydration and a slow painful death. Wood frogs go through a process called cryoprotection which boosts the production of urea, a substance found in the frog's urine and glucose (blood sugar). Both the urea and glucose act as combatants against the frog's internal ice formation. Apparently they don't even suffer freezer burn, like freezer kept foods do. How do they do it?
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