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Discovery Files - "Bad Vibes"

Discovery Files
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Discovery Files - "Bad Vibes"

Credit: NSF/Clear Channel Communications/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

"The Discovery Files" covers projects funded by a real early warning system.

I'm Bob Karson with "The Discovery Files" -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

The Panamanian red-eyed tree frog can defend itself, even before it's born. In fact, when the frog's eggs feel threatened, they will hatch up to 3 days prematurely to escape danger.

Karen Warkentin, a Boston University researcher believes that when the eggs detect the vibrations of their worst enemy, an intruding snake attacking on the cluster, they'll make a quick exit from their shells, and drop into the water out of harm's way.

She tested her theory by using different recordings of vibrations on a group of test eggs. When she played the vibrations of a parrot snake, the eggs hatched early, even with no snake present. But when she played them the vibrations created by rain, they didn't respond. Seems the eggs distinguish normal, "safe" patterns from dangerous "bad vibes."

If only I could get my car alarm to do that...

"The Discovery Files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at

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