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. Chris

    Scientists thought they found inteligent life forms on Earth. They were not wrong, so much as the life forms proceeded to destroy their own habitat at a rate exponential to the rate of implementation of inventions and procedures to save their habitat, all in the name of profit/progress.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kenny

    awesome. that's a beautiful thing.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BOB

    Yeah, PUNK, and you bothered to respond.

    September 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOB

    johnny orlando, yeah, it's sad. Scientists know nothing and are totally stupid. So what does that make you?

    September 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BOB

    PAPilot, who told you these scientists were libs? Go find me a living trilobite.

    September 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I think there is a little bit of a difference between something that has been seen in a human lifetime, but has been erroneously declared "extinct" and something that has been extinct for hundreds of millions of years. But then there are instances species being "extinct" for hundreds of millions of years then turning up somewhere so the point is that just because a scientist says something doesn't mean it is true.

      September 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Wraith

    Awesome, now we can make Dinosaurs from the amphibian DNA sequencing...thats a gret idea for a book!!!

    September 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Huh?

    what happened to the horned toad anyway? don't nobody care bout them little critters

    September 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duh?

      They're doing fine. The numbers have declined some, but they aren't near extinction.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      And they are lizards anyways.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Tex Pete...horned "toads" are lizards? how come they call 'em toads? Are toads the same as frogs kinda?

      September 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheesh

      September 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kat

    How cool!

    September 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    Exciting news, but it's not all gloom and doom. The fossil record shows us that every species comes and goes. It's just unfortunate if humans accelerate the extinctions of some animals.

    September 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robin

    This is an awesome find!! Esp for us nature lovers out there! In August, we were cleaning up around the pool area and saw a frog no larger than a fly! Two of us observed it for about 5 mins, then it hopped away.

    September 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stephen Hawking knows more than you

    When E.T. finds us, will he rescue us from ourselves or collect us to "help in medical research?"

    September 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dlarrym1

      Stephen Hawking is an idiot and arrogant to such a high degree that I didn't know it was possible. Rather then me go on and on, here is the URL to the article which explains at least in part why I feel he's a complete fool. Many other less "famous" Physicists like Dr. John Preskill, for example, have done much much more as far as contributing to understanding our universe then Hawking has ever has done.

      here is the URL for proof of my remarks:

      Read for yourself. Lastly, I would bet very few of you commenting on HAWKING's brilliance can even name 5 other physicist that have made contributions to our understanding of the universe.

      September 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Hawking knows more than dlarrym1


      September 23, 2010 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jim atmadison

      Beware the 'probe'!

      I wouldn't mind going on an alien space ship, but don't probe me, bro'.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. rexman

    If these "extinct" frogs were found, then maybe we can find dinosaurs like the t-rex too! yay!

    September 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wow really?

    I cant believe that some people are this ignorant. A scientist is almost never correct because everything changes. That they proclaimed these frogs extinct means that they have not been able to find that species in i think 50 or more years. Yet most of us would walk right by frogs that are 5 cm long without seeing them. So before criticizing try to find out a little more about what you are criticizing and make sure you have the right to criticize.

    September 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mikey

    It's always better to be thought stupid, than to open ones mouth and eliminate all doubt.

    September 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dlarrym1

    I had no idea that I would find such idiotic remarks to a truly important discovery on a CNN website. I guess I shouldn't have believed that a more intelligent demographic of people would be interested in this site. I guess idiots are everywhere!! LOL!! The possibility of new medicine or other medical benefits from the "RE-DISCOVERY" of these 3 amphibian species PALES in comparison to just the importance of the discovery itself!.

    To explain myself:

    This discovery shows that other species that were written off as "EXTINCT", may in-fact, still be out there surviving somehow. Perhaps the most profound discovery from this, isn't the re-discovered species themselves, but that "LIFE", as a whole, is showing us that even with the odds stacked against them, a given species can rebound from the edge of the abyss!!! The studying of HOW they did survive is where our focus should be. These little amphibians have been able to avoid complete annihilation despite mans HORRIBLE stewardship of this planet. If nothing else, we need to look at there survival as a blessing and a sign that if we make thoughtful, intelligent and a VERY SERIOUS effort toward keeping our planet "healthy", many more species may avoid becoming statistics of animals we USED to find on earth.

    sincerely, dlarrym1

    September 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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