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.

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