In a worrying discovery that sees nature moving more toward the artistic styling of Jason Freeny, scientists have uncovered a type of frog that has mutated to be completely transparent.
The frogs were found in the central Russian city of Krasnouralsk, along with other deformed amphibians that had grown extra limbs. Krasnouralsk is notorious in Russia for having a five kilometer buffer zone of contamination. Back in the 1800s, there was a gold rush in the area and copper was also a pretty big part of the town’s draw, but at some point the chemical plant in the city was abandoned for reasons unknown. Later, hundreds of tons of chemicals and explosives were found at the abandoned plant, leading to further speculation surrounding the ultimate fate of the region and ramifications for its wildlife.
Disturbingly, the Ural Federal University scientists who discovered the transparent frogs dredged them up from a lake that had turned completely orange from either the dumping or leakage of oleum and toluene. The Department of Zoology at The Institute of Natural Sciences in the district plans to carry out further tests on the frogs – which have a completely see-through outer skin, allowing us to see their entire skeleton, organs and heart – insisting that the terrible pollution contaminating the infamous area might not be the only factor in their evolution.
Studies of frogs have often informed the scientific community in instances where waters have been polluted in the past and have also served to warn us of how environmental changes might affect cell development in humans. Frogs are extremely sensitive to chemical pollution; tadpoles metabolize chemicals from the water and release them in their urine. After that, the chemicals are reabsorbed from the same water, similar to how a human fetus reabsorbs waste, so the results of further testing on the Krasnouralsk transparent frogs should lead to some interesting, if not comforting, conclusions – not least for those unfortunate enough to be residing in the area.