On Assignment | Dr. Christopher Austin | 225

Dr. Christopher Allen, a scientist at LSU, stands inside the Museum of Natural History on the Baton Rouge Campus on Thurs., Feb. 9, 2012. Allen travels two to three months a year and recently discovered the world

Dr. Christopher Allen, a scientist at LSU, stands inside the Museum of Natural History on the Baton Rouge Campus on Thurs., Feb. 9, 2012. Allen recently discovered the world's smallest vertebrate, a tiny frog in Papua New Guinea. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225)

It was early on a Thursday morning in February when I met up with Dr. Christopher Austin in one of my least favorite places on LSU’s campus — the Museum of Natural History. Part of the art department meets in the same building as the museum, and because of this, I spent more than enough time in the museum itself, using the animals for still-life drawings and, in general, being freaked out by the various species on display.

My assignment with Dr. Christopher Austin was to get some nice portraits of him in the museum, since we didn’t have the opportunity to photograph Austin in the field. Austin, a local herpetologist, travels to Papua New Guinea two to three months a year, studying how the island became so diverse in wildlife.

On a recent trip, he and his colleagues discovered a frog that is believed to be the world’s smallest vertebrate on record, called Paedophryne amauensis, completely by chance.

 

To read more about Dr. Christopher Austin, what he does and how they discovered the Paedophryne amauensis, check out Jeff Roedel’s article Real Backbone.

To learn more about Austin and what he has done, as well as to listen to the Paedophryne amauensis, visit his website.

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