Big cars are bad news for small amphibians.
Environmental scientist Dave Glista helped count and collect specimens for a recent Purdue University study that determined which animals were killed most often on one stretch of American highway.
"Maybe we're on to something," Glista says. "It depends on what side of the fence you're on. ... Good for data collection, bad for the frogs."
The research indexed more than 10,000 dead animals in 17 months along 11 miles of roads. Included in the final tally, Glista says, were eight species of amphibians, 360 individual carcasses of mammals, 9,800 frogs, 205 birds and 141 reptiles — "much more than we would have ever thought," he says.
Glista says the research may not have immediate consequences for how animals and humans interact on the highway, but he hopes it gives people pause.
"I'm a fan of roads," Glista says. "I use them every day. They're necessary. If [the study] makes us all a little more responsible, how we go about building them, then it's a good thing."