Kermit the Frog sang “It’s not that easy bein’ green” — and it’s apparently not that easy being a green of the warmist persuasion, either. Because while the recent decades’ decline in frog populations has been blamed on “global warming,” it turns out there’s another culprit, perhaps the most embarrassing one the warmists could imagine.
University of Utah professors Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran provide some background at their blog “West Hunter,” writing, “Starting in late 80s, herpetologists began noticing that various kinds of frogs were declining and/or disappearing. There was & is a geographical pattern: Wiki says ‘Declines have been particularly intense in the western United States, Central America, South America, eastern Australia and Fiji.’”
Researchers were befuddled by this, say Harpending and Cochran, because many of the frog declines couldn’t be attributed to human impact (deforestation, mining, etc.), as they were in remote areas such as the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica.
So, unsurprisingly, scientists glommed onto fashionable new hypotheses. As anthropology professor Harpending and Professor Cochran, who has devoted himself to studying evolutionary biology and chronic disease, write:
For a few years the herpetologists were concerned yet happy. Concerned, because many frog populations were crashing and some were going extinct. Happy, because confused puppies in Washington were giving them money, something that hardly ever happens to frogmen. The theory was that amphibians were ‘canaries in a coal mine’, uniquely sensitive to environmental degradation.
Possibly frogs were being killed by an increase in UV radiation (from CFCs). Of course you could always put out a[n]…ultraviolet photometer and measure the UV anywhere and anytime you wanted, but that would be the easy way out. Why do that when you could be paying graduate students to play with frogs?
Herbicides were also blamed. But with this and the UV-ray hypothesis being, well, like, so ’90s, they were quickly supplanted by a later fashion, expressed by National Geographic in 2006 thus: “Global warming may cause widespread amphibian extinctions by triggering lethal epidemics, a new study reports.” But this fashion is fiction, too. As the professors inform:
In 1993, people discovered an odd fungus [ Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis] infecting frogs in Queensland [Australia]. Since then it has been linked to many dramatic population declines in “western North America, Central America, South America, eastern Australia, East Africa (Tanzania) and Dominica and Montserrat.” Some species it bops, others it exterminates. Frog species with few offspring and high parental investment, such as mouth-breeding frogs, seem particularly vulnerable. It works like an STD, which can propagate when population density is low. Frogs congregate in ponds to mate, which allows transmission, as long as the frogs mate at all.
It took some time for herpetologists to admit that this chytrid fungus is the main culprit — some are still resisting. First, it was a lot like how doctors resisted Semmelweiss’ discoveries about the cause of puerperal fever — since doctors were the main method of transmission. How did this fungus get to the cloud forests of Costa Rica? On the boots of herpetologists, of course.
In other words, the very scientists blaming global warming, and getting money for blaming global warming, were themselves killing the frogs — inadvertently.
Harpending and Cochran also point out that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (let’s just call it BD, the frogs’ VD) had long infected the African clawed frog, the use of which in human pregnancy testing spread the fungus worldwide.
The BD revelation makes sense. If you see 40 tots in a daycare center all develop the same illness, do you assume the cause is UV rays or global warming — or that one kid introduced a disease?
It’s also a very old story. “White-nose syndrome,” which is caused by the fungus itali Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has destroyed bat populations in at least 25 states. Yet the fungus isn’t native to the United States; it was likely introduced by foreign caving enthusiasts in a high-traffic commercial cave in Schoharie County, New York. And the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, of which MRSA is a subtype, was spread by humans to chickens.
Man himself is also affected by his adventurous, wandering spirit. The notorious HIV virus originated with monkeys and spread to humans “probably by butchering them [the monkeys] for bush meat,” wrote National Geographic in 2003; it would ultimately be spread around the world by infected travelers. The far more feared Black Plague, which decimated medieval European populations, came from Asia. Smallpox, which caused even earlier European plagues (e.g., in the Roman Empire), likely came from India or Egypt.
Of course, American Indian populations would later be decimated by smallpox and other diseases — such as chicken pox, pneumonic plague, cholera, diphtheria, influenza, measles, scarlet fever, typhus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough — contracted from Europeans. This now is often calumniously called “genocide,” despite early white settlers not even knowing about germs (germ theory wouldn’t be proposed until 40 years after Christopher Columbus’ death and wouldn’t be proven till much later). Calling it genocide makes as much sense as saying non-Europeans visited a smallpox genocide upon the Romans or that herpetologists committed “genocide” against frogs.
Speaking of which, with warmists increasingly looking like Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling, it may be their agenda that ends up croaking.
(Hat tip: Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.)
Photo: ABDESIGN via iStock / Getty Images Plus