A new, disturbing trend of amphibian deformities (or malformities) has been widely reported. Apparently, one of the hypotheses has been that the culprit is inbreeding. Don’t know if many gave that much credence. Well, a new study disproves the dueling banjos theory. According to Live Science:

“This is really the first study to test — and disprove — the hypothesis that inbreeding is responsible for malformations in salamanders,”said researcher Rod Williams, Purdue University Assistant Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources.

“Amphibians are a good bio-indicator species — real canaries in the coal mine,” Williams said.

The mystery is not yet solved.

“We’ve crossed out inbreeding as a possibility, an important step forward,” DeWoody said, “but there’s a lot of work yet to do.”

It is widely believed that pollution is a culprit. Here is one of many stories to that effect.: