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Why the Amazon milk frog is the world’s greatest gymnast

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, a German research team from Kiel University used high speed cameras to capture the incredible gymnastic feats of the Amazon milk frog in slow motion. The NewsHour’s Julia Griffin explains how this tiny creature puts mankind’s best athletes to shame.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And now for our "NewsHour" Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you, too.

    In this increasingly fast-paced world, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate the beauty and complexity of nature. But one German research team decided to slow things down with high-speed cameras in order to capture the impressive gymnastic feats of tree frogs.

    The "NewsHour"'s Julia Griffin explains.

  • JULIA GRIFFIN:

    The toe pads of an Amazon milk frog can hold up to 14 times the animal's body weight. That's like an average American man holding a Honda Civic with his toes.

    Amazon milk frogs live in the trees of South American rain forests. Like most tree frogs, they have adhesive toe pads made of hexagonal cells and mucus that allow them to cling to surfaces.

    Researchers at Kiel University in Germany found the frogs can swing from a branch with just one toe, which, when it makes contact, doesn't slip. The frogs then use a variety of acrobatic maneuvers to slow their momentum.

    Having multiple landing techniques is important, because missing your mark 30 feet up in the air could mean death for a tree frog, though, sometimes, a belly flop is still the best bet.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Julia Griffin.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We can all aspire to do this.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Yes.

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