Sasquatch Coffee


New Thai Mountain Frog

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 25th, 2007

A new species of mountain frog that changes color in response to its surroundings has been discovered in northeast Thailand.

The Odorrana aureola, known locally as the Phu Luang Cliff frog after the national park where it was found, can grow to 3.5 inches (80 millimeters) and has a green body which occasionally turns brown, researchers said.

“It reflects its surrounds,” said Tanya Chan-ard, curator of Bangkok’s National Science Museum, who studied the frog with a team of government biologists and researchers.

Tanya Chan-ard said it was the world’s newest species of mountain frog, and was found only in Phu Luang National Park, which covers parts of the three mountainous northeastern Thai provinces.

The frog can only be found at waterfalls and creeks between 3,300 and 4,900 feet (1,000 and 1,500 meters) above sea level, he added.

“We found the frog quite some time ago but we began seriously studying it at the DNA level last year,” said Tanya Chan-ard, who presented his findings at a seminar in Bangkok.

The team’s findings were confirmed by US-based experts with the natural history journal Fieldiana last year, he added.

Researchers do not know how many of the Odorrana aureola are in the Thai wild, but Tanya Chan-ard said there were probably not very many as they did not breed very often.adapted from an AFP news release, May 25, 2007

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


13 Responses to “New Thai Mountain Frog”

  1. Bob Michaels responds:

    Always happy to hear about a new species being discovered.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    I always get a kick out of the word “new species”, because obviously the species has been around just as long as others and is not really new at all. I sometimes think calling them “An old species newly discovered” would be more fitting. :)

  3. sausage1 responds:

    I’d go further than Mystery Man and say – new to who?

    Why is an animal considered to be ‘discovered’ or ‘new’ only when (mainly western) science accepts it, or sees it for the first time?

    Surely native Congolese discovered the mountain gorilla before von Beringe butchered one? Did the Australian Aborigines have no idea that kangaroos existed before the scientific beneficence of the west kindly bestowed the knowledge on them? And what about the occasional ‘newly discovered tribes’ in New Guinea and Amazonia. Surely they already knew themselves that they existed?

    To call such species ‘new’ or ‘discovered’ is, to my mind, condescending to the local people, who already know they are there.

    Imagine people who have dedicated their lives to searching for sasquatch, often in the face of ridicule and with no funding. Now think how they would feel if the academia that had pooh-poohed them suddenly acquired a living, breathing specimen and put it on display. How would our squatch hunters feel if the academics pronounced it a ‘new animal’ or ‘newly discovered?’ when their sightings and findings had been dismissed so often?

    I feel there is an unhealthy hegemony of scientific acceptance over folk knowledge, and the use of unqualified terms like ‘new’ or ‘discovered’ is an example of it.

    Sorry to rant but hell, where else can I have this conversation? Down the pub?

  4. Sunny responds:

    How about ‘previously undocumented [or uncatalogued] species?

    Remember — these are articles that appear in the press — and *that* definition ranges from top-notch articles filled with facts and figures all the way down the line to Bat Boy Buys a Doublewide and Moves in With His Mama. Expecting the mainstream press to treat anything with truth or realism is about as realisting as expecting BF himself to wander in and sit down on the sofa next to me.

    C’mon boys — I think that when the story runs in a mainstream press article, “new species” by definition means that it’s a species that the overwhelming majority of the world has not seen at any prior time.

    That doesn’t (in my eyes) negate the local peoples who are already familiar with the creature, it just means that it is now added to the list of things that the scientific community has documented.

    Pedantry has its place — pedantry can also be annoying and take focus away from the story.

    Personally, I’m still captivated by the fact that for all the things we know about this world of ours, we still manage to find something new once in a while.

  5. dogu4 responds:

    When discussing cryptids I always like to keep in mind the story of Darwin, the orchid and the moth. There is a sense of aesthetic gratification in “discovering new species” which is natural to our inate sense of curiosity. A Certain sense of joy expereinced in what is being called bio-philia. And there is also the intellectual gratification of knowing that despite chaos there is reason in the natural world and anyone can, if they choose, study it and gain the same knowledge. I don’t really think anyone is seriously using the word discover as if it implied ownership or control in any physical sense, as it would mean outside of science…finders keepers, y’know.

    Oh, and it’s also good to keep in mind that when one says “new to science” in reference to the living world around us, one is talking about an endeavor that is actually kind of recent and a bit of a Johnny Come Lately. By the time contemporary science began to catalogue the living inventory outside of Europe, it was already decimated by human activities to an extent that is hard for us to believe, let alone catalogue.

    Altogether excellent post

  6. sausage1 responds:

    I take the points you guys are making. I think ‘previously undocumented’ has the right feel to it. But if bigfoot DID come and sit on your sofa, and a major university or zoological authority verified it, would it be pronounced as a ‘new species,’ or ‘newly discovered’ or ‘previously undocumented?’ Because, after all, mainstream science maintains it doesn’t exist, right?

    In no way would I deny any dedicated person the aesthetic pleasure of ‘discovery.’ We would be a sad, hollow group of souls if we did not feel this thrill. I would hope we all have open and inquiring minds that delight in the wonders around us. I still feel that the scientific community (or parts of it) have historically denied this thrill (in the sense of recognition) to others who do not meet their standards or embrace their paradigms, and are continuing to do so with, for example, bigfoot research.

    And I still feel that the acceptance and knowledge of indigenous peoples is as valid and worthy of respect as an editorial in Nature as far as the public are concerned.

    Hey, ain’t all this debate fun? And I was right, nobody down the pub has ever even HEARD of sasquatch, let alone the Thai frog.

  7. dogu4 responds:

    Sadly, there are few pubs where cryptozoology is the currency of intelligent conversation, but fortunately it’s still welcome around a few campfires. Cheers.

  8. grafikman responds:

    I think we all may be forgetting that members of mainstream science don’t accept sasquaii as real, therefore it would be astronomically unlikely (although completely ironic) that they would be the ones to stumble across one by accident.

    When the day comes when sasquatch are finally “discovered” and confirmed to modern science, it will undoubtedly be by one of the amateur researchers in the field right now.

    I also agree with what Sunny said about ‘for all the things we know about this world of ours’. I would amend that sentence to read ‘for all the things we THINK we know about this world of ours’. Just drive 5 minutes outside of your city or town, no matter how big and urban or small and rural, and then walk for 5 minutes into the nearest wooded area. Sit down. Look around. There’s probably something there that no one ever discovered. Be it an odd bug, a tiny plant, a species of fungi, maybe an undisclosed herptile. Point being, as we become more and more isolated at our keyboards, the relatively short time “modern” man has spent “discovering” in the wilderness may have had less of an effect than we think, and the creatures that were already there are again encroaching upon their original habitat.

  9. sausage1 responds:

    Love the point in your last paragraph, grafikman. Even in the English Home Counties something may be lurking in the undergrowth to delight and surprise us.

  10. dogu4 responds:

    Excellent points, all, Grafikman. For all the increase in our activity all over the planet, there are areas that are being vacated as the smaller resource dependent activities prove less viable. These days when we go into the woods, we stay on a trail, camp in an approved spot mostly, and go when the woods are most likely to be occupied by others of our kind. Lots of “nuthin’ special” valleys and ridges are hardly ever visited and when they are it might be only momentarily. Nature’s resiliencey is something we’d be wise not to bet against, though I wouldn’t want a sentiment like that to be confused with my being in anyway shape of form forgiving when it comes to short-sightedness in how we treat the natural world.

  11. dogu4 responds:

    One other comment, Grafikman. You use the term “amateur” to describe the researcher who you think is most likely to acquire the level of evidence to convince the mainstream. There is a kind of poetic or artistic appeal to that sort of perspective, so I like it, but I know a few biologists and naturalists in the field and they’ve been inspired by people like Jane Goodall and the Murie Brothers and E.O. Wilson who’ve acquired the kinds of insight they achieved and shared with us by dint of their almost obsessive love for their subject and its context; love being the root of the word amateur.

    I really think that with the next generation of emerging landscape analysis technology, from optics and lasers to radar, we’ll acquire the kind of ability to inventory a really big piece of habitat comprehensively with an objective of understanding the inter-actions of the community of animals that live there and feed there. And then I think we’ll not only see whether or not relic hominids roam our wilderness, but maybe be able to learn something about their cryptic behaviors.

  12. Mnynames responds:

    I seem to recall a recent biological survey of Central Park in NYC discovered a previously undocumented animal, wish I could remember the source for that.

    I know that there was a rather large and unusual beetle rediscovered in Britain relatively recently, and that it was recognized because the guy who found it in his shed decided to take it to a local zoologist rather than squish it. After it went public, dozens of people wrote in about having seen them, and largely squished them, for quite some time.

    If Craig Venter can sample ocean water and discover 12 new genes for bioluminescence, surely there are a lot of unknowns still lurking about, even if most of them are quite small.

    But it gets wilder than that- you don’t have to leave the city, and you don’t even have to leave the house. There could be undiscovered organisms living INSIDE you right now. Check this out-

    “In the new study, researchers extracted snippets of genetic material from the stomachs of 19 people and found the biological blueprints of 128 bacteria types. Many of them had never been observed in the stomach before and 10 percent were previously unknown to science.

    One of the newly discovered bacteria types is a relative of Deinococcus radiodurans, one of the hardiest organisms alive.

    D. radiodurans is a so-called extremophile because it thrives in extreme environments that would kill most organisms, such as radioactive waste dumps and hot springs. While a radiation dose of 10 grays (Gy) would kill a human, D. radiodurans can take up to 5,000 Gy with no visible effect. It can survive heat, cold, vacuum, and acid. It is so resilient scientists nicknamed it “Conan the Bacterium,” after the fictional barbarian warrior.”

    The Hyperborean Age could be going on inside you right now…

  13. mystery_man responds:

    I’ve said it before on this site and I’ll say it again. The amount of newly discovered creatures that were ethnoknown, which is to say well known by the native people but not to science, before their discovery is well known. I find this to be fascinating how for example, the scientific community made a big fuss over, say, the Laotian rock rat yet to the local people, it was a pretty common creature. I am sure that the same thing will be said about some of the cryptids when they are discovered. People will hail the discovery of Mokele Mbembe, and the natives will be like “What do you mean, new discovery?!”. It illustrates well the fact that a creature is not allowed into the record of life on this planet unless documented by science, according to the rules of science even though it could be a mundane animal for the locals. Interesting.

    I also think that because a scientist, in the proper field mind you, has to get a hold of a specimen before it can be properly appraised as a “new” species. I live in a pretty populated area and on several occassions, I have seen birds that I have never seen before. Now, granted these are probably known birds, but what if they weren’t? People see them on a daily basis just assuming they are regular birds and the only way they will ever be seen as a new species is unless a bird specialist happens to come along and see them. Even if a layperson WAS to think that it was something special, what would they be able to do about it? So in the end, for some of the smaller creatures that may not be immediately recognized as a new species, it is not enough to see them, the right person has to see them.



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