You’ve probably heard of the Tasmanian devil. It’s a noisy, aggressive creature that is sometimes seen spinning around in cartoons. It also has the distinction of being the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. But a century ago, the Tasmanian devil didn’t hold that title – it was beaten in size by another Tasmanian resident, the thylacine.
The dodo has the unenviable distinction of being a byword for something both dead and stupid. Many people view this big-beaked flightless fruit-eater as an unfortunate evolutionary mistake – a creature so fat, so painfully unintelligent, so useless, that it has no option but to die out. Perhaps because it was apparently so unfit for survival, its extinction seems somewhat acceptable to us, maybe even deserving.
In this special Freaky Frog/Lost Forever crossover, we’ll be looking at a species that, until relatively recently, exhibited one of the most extreme forms of parental care seen in any frog. Known as the gastric-brooding frog (or platypus frog due to its largely aquatic nature), it lived only in Queensland, Australia. The female, after laying her eggs, swallowed them – just like Darwin’s frog, which we mentioned last time.
In the ‘Lost Forever’ series of articles, The Nature Nook will be looking at animal species that have become extinct in the past 500 years or so. Now, I should first point out that extinction is a perfectly natural process. It has always taken place throughout the history of life on Earth. Just as every individual that is born will die, every species that evolves will eventually become extinct. In fact, some 99.99% of all species that have ever lived on our planet are now extinct.