Rain and snow aren't the only things to fall from the sky. Throughout history rare occurrences have been recorded of other less expected and surprising forms of deluge. In 2001, parts of India were showered with mysterious red particles that were thought to contain alien microbes.
Scientists trekking through the Suriname rainforest, one of the last road-free wilderness areas in the world, turned up a host of animals that conservation biologists believe are new to science. This little guy was just one of them.
This little guy is officially the smallest vertebrate on the planet, averaging 7.7 millimeters in size, less than one-third of an inch. Named Paedophryne amauensis, the new species of frog was discovered in Papua New Guinea, where it lives in leaf detritus on the rainforest floor.
For years, every time Vance Vredenburg visited his study area in Kings Canyon National Park in California, he tallied about 100 Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs. But in 2005, all the San Francisco State University biologist found were 30 carcasses floating in a lake. Most of the park’s 10,000 frogs had fallen victim to chytrid, a disease that’s the biggest threat to vertebrate biodiversity in history. This summer, Vredenburg returned to the area with plastic tubs full of a bacterial species that might save both this frog and other amphibians around the world.