NZ Herald: Frogs take huge leap of faith

Amelia Wade writes in the New Zealand Herald about a species of frog, discovered by University of Otago scientists, which appears to show that frogs evolved the ability to jump before the ability to land (gracefully).

A primitive New Zealand frog has been found to able to jump successfully, but instead of landing on its feet, it ‘bellyflops’ instead.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Otago University scientists observed a primitive New Zealand species, the Leiopelmatidae, flop over and over again, and compared the landings to a more highly-evolved species.

“The more developed frogs flex their legs mid-leap, setting themselves up for a perfect landing on their feet.

“The scientists found that this shift to “early hindlimb recovery” was a key feature in the animals’ evolution.

“It showed that frogs had an ability to leap quickly into the water, rather than to move around on land.