September 22nd, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Scientists discover amphibian species thought to be extinct

The Omaniundu reed frog hadn’t been observed since 1979

Three species of amphibians thought to be extinct for decades have been rediscovered, scientists announced Wednesday.

The three are the cave splayfoot salamander from Mexico, the Mount Nimba reed frog from the Ivory Coast and the Omaniundu reed frog from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The three were found as part of an effort by Conservation International and the Amphibious Specialty Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to determine if 100 “lost” amphibian species are really extinct.

"These are fantastic finds and could have important implications for people as well as for amphibians,” said Robin Moore, who organized the Search for the Lost Frogs, the official name of the campaign. The creatures could help in medical research or just in protecting water resources, Moore said.

Several specimens of the salamander, of which only a lone individual was identified in 1941, were found in a system of caves accessible only by a pothole in Mexico’s Hidalgo province, Conservation International said.

The Mount Nimba reed frog, found by a local scientist in a swampy field near Ivory Coast’s border with Liberia, hadn’t been seen since 1967.

The Omaniundu reed frog hadn’t been observed since 1979. It was spotted in a flooded forest next to a Congo River tributary.

The first phase of the lost frogs project continues until next month when the Convention on Biological Diversity opens in Japan. Scientists hope they’ll have more successes to announce then, but Moore said it’s a tall task.

“These rediscovered animals are the lucky ones – many other species we have been looking for have probably gone for good," he said.

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soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. candysugar005


    September 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • slorgg

      Over 90% of all living things which have existed on earth are extinct. The reason for this is that as time goes on new life comes in and old life goes out. Now I don't have anything against the frogs, I'd like them to be around. The only way to fix that is to stop dumping toxic waste and polluting (no I'm not talking about CO2. CO2 is a good thing. I'm talking about industrial waste). Only the largest corporations can decide to stop cutting corners for their bottom line. Regular people like you and me don't want the frogs to die.

      Unfortunately knowing that the corporations have purchased the governments in which they operate and the governments are the only regulatory arm that could inhibit illegal pollution by the corporations... It won't stop until we get corporations and government to separate.

      So the frogs will die. I hate to say it. It is truth because I don't see us holding anyone accountable or changing the system.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura


      It's completely ignorant to think that humans don't have an impact on the environment. It's up to you to decide whether you believe that our higher intellect and creativity mean that we have a responsibility to protect habitats and species or not, but to turn a blind eye to the effects of our actions isn't an option. You may think that humans have the right to do whatever we want with the planet because we can, and that's your prerogative. Whatever. But facts are facts, and our destruction of habitat and our contribution to declining air and water quality due to industry and development are real whether you care or not.

      September 25, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. LOL

    Ha...what important finds! Now let's use them in medical research. lol We're so doomed to extinction ourselves.

    September 22, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • mkub

      Exactly what I though! The second I saw 'medical research' it was a palm-to-face, doh! moment.......

      September 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maggie

      Wait a moment – this doesn't say they're going to destroy the frogs for research, only that the species could be used for research. You don't honestly think they're going to destroy the endangered species, or put them into danger of extinction! That would be ridiculous. They are only OBSERVING them, people. Get a grip.

      September 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'tis me man

      ahhhhh medical research on wittle fwoggies??? i dont even like getting shots!!!!

      September 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'tis me man

      what do u mean get a grip maggie? theyre not observing them theyre disecting them or maybe not.... hmm ... well they better be "observing"

      September 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. I_Hustle

    YES we found them!!! Now let's cut 'em up to see if they can cure my dry itchy scalp.

    September 22, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Really!? Scientist discover an amphibian thought to be extinct and you are only worried about your dry itchy scalp??

      September 22, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • paul johnson

      Kyle, your lost.

      September 22, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • mkub

      Oh jeez Kyle..... The article said these newly found amphibians can now be used for medical research. ... Read the article before discussing.

      September 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Hawking knows more than you

      Paul, "you're" uneducated.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'tis me man

      eww nasty head!!! cant you just wash your hair or something

      September 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ryan

    Very cool!

    September 22, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. jtbrea

    So what human progress will be stop to save these frogs?

    September 22, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Humans are progressing?

      September 22, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ummm...

      Hopefully not conjugating verbs, it looks like we still have some progress to make in that field.

      September 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • missadr

      progress? Humans have been going downhill for centuries.

      September 24, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Guest

    There are quite a few extinct animals that are not really extinct. Usually it takes a carcass before scientists will admit they were wrong.

    September 22, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • jim atmadison

      Sometimes things reappear that we wish had just stayed gone. I heard that the American Slimy Newt (newtus gingrichus) has re-emerged from the ooze.

      September 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Larry

    Where can I find a job like this? SHH..

    September 22, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. PAPilot

    Libs are really fast to declare a species extinct to make humanity feel more guilty and to create more self-loathing. I'd imagine that there are many "extinct" species out there that are still alive and well, but just out of our view. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

    September 22, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      But they'll never declare extinction for the jerks who sling political mud anywhere they think they can fit it in, whether or not it's true or fits the topic, will they?

      September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      PAPilot: why do you assume that this was a political ploy? Scientists use certain models to determine extinction. If a common species becomes uncommon, then rare, then is not seen for 50+ years, it is logical to assume it is now extinct.

      Certainly a few "extinct" species are still out there. But the majority are gone. Stop seeing conspiracy and lies everywhere - not everyone in the world is as manipulative and agenda-driven as you seem to be.

      September 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ClownsToTheLeftJokersToTheRight

      OK. Sure, a frog has not been seen for 30 years but declaring it extinct was all just a liberal conspiracy to make conservatives feel "guilt and self-loathing" for not caring enough about the environment. As if that's the way science works.

      It could not be that scientists have models and rules to follow when making such calls one way or another. No, no. Foolishly... you assume all scientists are obviously liberals that declare animals extinct/endangered on a whim because it is SO EFFECTIVE at pushing the liberal agenda... because, you know, declaring a frog extinct probably won Obama the election in 2008.

      Give me a break!

      September 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom in Dallas

      @PAPilot – you're silly

      September 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom in Dallas

      @PAPilot – you're silly...and by silly, I mean stupid!

      September 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim atmadison

      I heard Sarah Palin is mounting an expedition to shoot Mount Nimba reed frogs from helicopters using high powered rifles.

      See? Libs can make up ridiculous conspiracies too!

      September 24, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      At least the "Libs" care about something other than poltics. Leave it to a Republican to turn a story about frogs into a polcitical debate. Jeez, don't you have anything better to do? I think Rush's show is on. Run along and let the adults talk.

      September 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Howard Markowitz

    How cynical these comments are. Finds from medical research will come from the animals saliva and bodily fluids. Animals near extinction are not going to be killed by scientists. Scientists will find ways to help these animals to survive.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      By keeping them in a lab so that we can use their bodily fluids right? Wow...that's true freedom for those animals.

      September 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • CDNReader

      You're naive if you think the scientist would protect an animal over their research (I work in the field so I have some experience). And usually "medical research" does involve sacrificing the animal. Sorry. To bad they couldn't just leave the little critters alone. Like that "unicorn" in Laos...

      September 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'tis me man

      dont hurt the wittle froggies!!! oh yaeeh and salamanders

      September 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • 'tis me man

      there was a unicorn? do they fly

      September 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CatfishMammy

    I dont no nothin bout toads but dem thangs look like they poisonus an made by da Debil!!!

    September 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Satan

      No ma'am, not my handiwork. You can blame God for the whole lot of 'em, poisonous, odoriferous, you name it.
      My efforts are in assuring that... wait... if I tell you it will ruin the surprise.
      Nevermind.. (giggles and greedily rubs his hands in demonic fashion)

      September 25, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Keith

    I wonder if Bear Grylls will eat one when he is in the area?

    September 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Govner90

    The rediscovered amphibians are not the lucky ones. Now that humans have found them again we will ubdoubtedly drive the to extinction by screwing around with the safe haven they have found and been surviving in...

    September 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mortified to be human, sometimes

      Govner, sad but true

      September 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. johnny orlando

    Scientists are proven wrong more than they are proven right. They always think some species is extinct or doesnt exist until it is caught. Local people who live in huts know more than them. Its sad.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CatfishMammy

      I live in a hut an dont kno nothin bout toad!

      September 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      That is because you can't prove a scientist right since all of science is built only on proving things wrong.

      September 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      johnny: science is a vast array of ideas, supported by evidence. What many non-scientists seem incapable of understanding is that the ideas keep changing and improving. It improves because someone clarifies or corrects something - that is expected and encouraged.

      I imagine you hut dwellers would have discovered all the basics about electricity and computer science much quicker than scientists, right? And I suppose they would have mapped the genetic code and travelled to the moon, since they know so much more than scientists, right?

      It is easy to take a jab at things when you are truly ignorant. Try studying before spewing

      September 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jess

      Or perhaps it is only newsworthy when they're wrong? And all the many cases where evidence supports a theory aren't exciting enough for CNN? You should learn about the scientific method before posting an ignorant comment like that.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      Seriously, it's idiotic comments like this one that makes me think we're not worth saving, after all.

      September 24, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ben

    Oh, ya, we're pretty sure der all dead...oops!

    September 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don-MN

    Once again man proves that he knows nothing.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LYNN


      September 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
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