The Frog Licker's ''Toxic'' Taste Test

The Frog Licker's ''Toxic'' Taste Test (Pictures)
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Valerie Clark stands at the top of a waterfall on Mount Kopinang, one of many summits of Wokomung Massif, a large mesa in southern Guyana, in July 2007.

The unconventional biologist has trekked through Madagascar and South America studying how toxic frogs evolved their defenses.

Clark's love affair with frogs began in suburban Maryland, where as a child she entered her hand-raised frogs into local jumping races.

Nowadays she's in a race against time to study Earth's disappearing frogs.

"They really are important to all of us for many reasons, and the fact that they are threatened is a warning,'' to humans about the state of the environment, Clark said.

"[Frogs] are like the canary in the coal mine."

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—Photograph by D. Bruce Means
 
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