One of Taiwan’s most revered artefacts, the Meat-Shaped Stone is a piece of jasper, carved and dyed to resemble a chunk of stewed pork. According to the National Palace Museum, the craftsman “took the rich natural resources of this stone and carved it with great precision… the veining and hair follicles making the piece appear even more realistic.”
The Mien-tien tree frog’s scientific name is Chirixalus idiootocus, but maybe it’s not such an idiot, after all. For the diminutive croaker has mastered a skill that must be unique in the animal kingdom – exploiting the acoustics of concrete sewers to make booty calls.
A rare peek into the sexual habits of urban frogs comes from Wen-Hao “Bob” Tan and colleagues at the National Taiwan University, who spent many enlightening evenings in Taipei peering down drain holes at amorous idiootoci. After conducting experiments on location with a speaker and microphone, they made two conclusions: the amplitude and duration of mating calls are greater in the sewers – what they call “miniature urban canyons” – and the frogs were choosing exactly the right perch locations to maximize this effect.
Because their long-term survival depends on yelling loudly for females, frogs have adapted clever means to broadcast their wanton desires.