If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had several experiences where you FREAK OUT at others’ lack of caution with your (or their!) kids. From allowing your 5-year-old to ride a bike without a helmet, showing a PG-13 movie at an 8-year-old’s sleepover, tossing your infant in the air WAY too high for comfort, or letting your 2-year-old experiment with throwing random items into a toilet to see what will happen, moms everywhere have laundry lists of “NO-NO’s” that are usually not followed by
dads other caregivers.
But let me introduce you to a dad who will DEFINITELY not win a father of the year award. Meet the male dyeing poison frog- after his baby tadpoles hatch, he carries the newborns to pools of water with older, cannibalistic tadpoles, drops them in, hops away, and hopes for the best.
Moms everywhere just went “WHAAAT?” But hear him out- just like
your significant other caregivers you might know, they have what they think is a REALLY GOOD REASON for this. Apparently, they have a pretty good probability of surviving (although definitely not high enough to make moms happy), and since those older, cannibalistic tadpoles are growing and healthy, the pool must be a good spot.
Learning about the evolution of this strange reasoning could help researchers understand this behavior- both in frogs and in humans. And maybe now you’ll think that letting your little one experiment with toilet science isn’t quite as big of a deal…