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.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may know that for the past six months, we’ve been posting Freaky Frog articles every fortnight. During our journey through the weird and wonderful world of these amazing amphibians, we’ve looked at the delightfully named ‘scrotum frog’, we’ve examined the remarkable defensive mechanism of the ‘wolverine frog’, and we’ve marvelled at the cryogenic wood frog. There have been frogs that brood their young in their vocal sacs. Toads that brood their young inside pockets in their own skin. Frogs with moustaches. Frogs that practise ‘reproductive necrophilia’.
The common ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird alive today. It can grow up to 2.8 metres in height and weigh up to 150 kg, which is 50,000 times heavier than the smallest bird, the bee hummingbird. Unsurprisingly, the eggs that the ostrich lays are the largest produced by any bird. Weighing about 1.4 kg on average – the equivalent of two dozen chicken eggs, or around 3,000 hummingbird eggs – it takes about 50 minutes to soft boil one and over an hour and a half to hard boil.
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.