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Science: Check It Out, Beavis: They Said "Appendage"

Outside magazine, January 1998

Science: Check It Out, Beavis: They Said "Appendage"

Because one man's harbinger of doom is another's prurient thrill
By Sarah Horowitz

Certainly, what with an entire episode of Nightline and untold column inches devoted to the topic, we've all heard plenty about the scores of mutant frogs turning up around the country. But how many of us have gotten past the first-sign-of-the-apocalypse rhetoric to see for ourselves what the fuss is about? Well, thanks to the omnipotent World Wide Web, we now have the ability to see Kermit-gone-bad firsthand — without the unpleasantness of slogging through algae-coated ponds. Herewith, four cyberaddresses where you can watch and, more important, learn.
The Site The Sight The Insight
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
The MPCA's Live Frog Cam, refreshed every minute, lets you view six deformed frogs going about their daily business. "Because amphibians are very sensitive to a dirty environment, the home tank for these frogs is cleaned and disinfected weekly."
Welcome to Deformed Amphibian Research at Hartwick College!!
Home page background consists of tiled photos of a five-legged frog. "It is possible that this phenomenon may reflect a global environmental problem... [But] it's important as well to keep in mind that there are now more people out there looking for deformed amphibians!"
The Minnesota New Country School Frog Project
Deformed-amphibian line drawings and a gallery of snapshots. "The frog project began on a summer nature trip. Some students thought they had stepped on a few frogs. The frogs' legs appeared bent. Everyone checked the bottom of their shoes."
North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations
Tell-all photos ranging from abnormal, missing, extra, and split limbs to missing eyes and a retained tail. "Biology professor Stanley Sessions is not concerned: 'This whole deformed frog incident has been blown way out of proportion.'"

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