The Design of Frogs and Toads

The Design of Frogs and Toads such as the Tungara frog
Tungara Frog

One of the books in our children’s series shows the design of frogs and toads. Re-reading that little book, written at a child’s level, motivated me to look into some of the unusual things about these amphibians. Of the 7,537 species of amphibians, 6,631 are frogs and toads.

The Old Testament Hebrew word “min” (translated as “kinds” in most translations) is not the same as the English word “species.” “Kind” has a much broader meaning. We find the same concept of “kinds” in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 15:39, the writer tells us that there are four kinds of flesh – the flesh of men, of beasts, of fishes, and of birds.

We suggest that changes due to environmental pressures have caused frogs to speciate to enable them to adapt to their individual environments. Frogs living in trees don’t need the same equipment functioning in the same way as frogs in a pond, in a sand dune, or in a cold place. This factual evolution is seen in most animals, but very clearly in the frogs. We still have much to learn about this. Toads and frogs have an organ called a “Bidder’s organ,” the purpose of which is unknown. It is present in all toads in early development but only in the males in adulthood.

Some frog behaviors are amazing. The Tungara frog, which is common in South and Central America, is a good example. During the mating season, the female releases a protein that the male collects on his feet. When he has collected a sufficient amount, he begins kicking his feet vigorously producing a foam into which the eggs are placed to grow into tadpoles.

Other frogs produce a similar foam, but by completely different methods. Researchers are trying to learn how the frog acquires this ability, but it is pretty obvious that it isn’t acquired in stages. The genome may tell us whether it is built into the frog’s DNA or whether it is a learned behavior, but it appears to be genetic. To program a code takes intelligence and purpose, and chance explanations are difficult to justify. The design of frogs and toads shows evidence of a Designer.

 –John N. Clayton © 2017

Data from Discover magazine, July/August 2016, page 74.

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