CQUniversity Professor Dr Scott Wilson has seen an increase in the number of mutated cane toads in Gladstone.
CQUniversity Professor Dr Scott Wilson has seen an increase in the number of mutated cane toads in Gladstone. Contributed

University researcher quashes mutated toad media frenzy

IMAGES of mutated cane toads in Gladstone were quick to make national news on Monday.

But CQUniversity researcher Dr Scott Wilson was even quicker to quash the media frenzy.

"The images are a few years old," Dr Wilson said.

In 2010 The Observer reported the Rockhampton-based scientist had started research into the field of toad mutations.

He found that Gladstone cane toads were five times more likely to have abnormalities than toads in other cities.

Three years later Dr Wilson is still on the case, with between 6-8% of the toad population likely to have an abnormality in Gladstone.

"We've continued to research the issue of abnormalities in toads," Dr Wilson said.

"We've seen quite a significant increase in the percentage of toads with abnormalities."

"But at this stage it isn't necessarily a Gladstone thing, with places like Sydney seeing similar increases."

"The main abnormalities include missing toes, eyes....and backbones," he said.

Dr Wilson said although there was no evidence to suggest polluted waterways in Gladstone were linked to the mutations, he said his team wouldn't rule that out.

"It is difficult to say. Until we find out what is in the water per-se, we can't say anything," Dr Wilson said.



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