Monday, July 15, 2013

Kissing Cousins

Northern Pacific Treefrog (c) John Ashley
Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla regilla)
I'm struck by how much the face of this Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla regilla) looks like the face of a snake.

Peace Frog (c) John Ashley
Chorus frog practices flashing "bunny ears"
The amphibians (frogs) branched off the family tree from a common ancestor with reptiles (snakes and lizards) about 320 million years ago. In fact, reptiles are more closely related to birds and mammals than to amphibians. This means that, in a family reunion group photo, the elder amphibian representative would be on one end, and the young reptile member would be on the other end. In the middle would be (in relative order) mammals, turtles and the dinosaur family (birds and crocodiles).

Does this thought give you pause when thinking about this summer's family reunion? You might want to be a little choosy when deciding which cousin you stand next to for the big photo op. Someone might try to flash "bunny ears" behind your mammalian head.