Jennifer Aniston’s daily schedule: a 16-hour fast – and celery juice as a treat | Film | The Guardian

person

Appearance: Almost the same.

Almost the same as what? Almost the same as how she looked 20 years ago, when she was starring in the hit series Friends, according to the Mail Online.

Amazing. What is the secret of her youthful appearance? Not eating.

That doesn’t sound ideal at all. Well, more specifically, she’s adopted an “intermittent fasting” regime, more commonly known as the 16:8 diet.

Is it like the 5:2 diet, except you starve for 16 days and then binge for 8 days? No, in this case the numbers represent hours. “I noticed a big difference in going without solid food for 16 hours,” Aniston told the Radio Times.

Sixteen hours without food? By the time you’re allowed to eat, it would be past your bedtime! Fortunately, your sleeping hours are counted as part of the fasting period. You just have to delay breakfast until 10am.

I could probably just stay in bed until then, as long as I were allowed to eat what I liked afterwards. You eat anything, but you must stop by 5 or 6pm, when the fasting begins anew.

And does it actually keep you young? Who knows. Some people believe it is supposed to keep you slim, improve blood sugar control, boost brain function and increase life expectancy.

You know what’s guaranteed to make you feel old? Eating dinner at 5pm. Most intermittent fasters prefer the more convenient 12 to 8 eating window, but 10 to 6 is considered optimal.

Optimally joyless, do you mean? Obviously Aniston isn’t completely rigid about the whole thing. She has a “cheat” day once a week where she treats herself outside fasting hours.

And what does she have? Celery juice.

She treats herself to a celery juice? What an example to us all. Indeed she is.

I was being sarcastic. She is certainly an example to Reese Witherspoon, her co-star in the new series The Morning Show. “Jen knows so much about health and fitness that I always defer to her,” she told the Radio Times. “She’s great at wellbeing advice.”

Is there more to her wellbeing regime? In addition to fasting, Jen does meditation, followed by five workouts per week. Witherspoon, the swot, manages six.

I don’t understand how these people find time in their schedule to get drunk. They don’t need to get drunk; they get high on being a better person than you.

Do say: “Fasting, meditation, exercise: what a great way to use up the hours between now and death.”

Don’t say: “Focus, Jen. It’s nearly 6pm, and this box of doughnuts isn’t going to eat itself.”

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Trump’s right-wing media diet is a factor in the impeachment inquiry

Media

New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The whistleblower’s complaint says “I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine.”
Well, he must not be an avid consumer of the MAGA media universe.
    As The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen explained here, Trump was “referencing a conspiracy theory pushed by Russian trolls and far-right pundits that imagines the Democratic National Committee fabricating all the evidence in Russia’s 2016 breach of the DNC network.” In other words, it’s a Russia-friendly theory that contradicts all of the U.S. intel community assessments about Russia’s meddling in the election.
    It went “from the depths of 4chan, promoted by Russian media, to the president’s mouth,” BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick wrote.
    This is how the president’s alt-right media diet actively hurts his presidency and the public.

    John Solomon’s contributions

    WaPo’s Philip Bump zeroed in on this point on Thursday. “There’s little indication at this point that Trump’s media diet is anything other than a buffet of conservative television and Internet articles. That diet might just have contributed to the most significant threat Trump’s presidency has seen,” Bump wrote.
    The allegations in the whistleblower complaint “include a significant number of news articles published by a popular conservative opinion columnist for the Hill” — that’s John Solomon, a Fox regular — “articles that the whistleblower seems to think contributed to the fervency of the Trump-Giuliani effort.”
    Bump said it’s clear that “Solomon’s reporting and the stories he helped advance were simultaneously politically useful to Trump and potentially influenced his thinking.” And he pointed out that former chief of staff John Kelly specifically tried to keep these sorts of “unvetted” stories off of Trump’s desk. It doesn’t seem like anyone is trying to do that now…
    → For more on Solomon, WaPo’s Paul Farhi is out with a new story… It says Solomon “has had a long, and occasionally decorated, career as an editor and investigative reporter in Washington, though his more recent work has been trailed by claims that it is biased and lacks rigor…”

    What Trump’s favorite TV shows are telling him

    Right now they’re telling him that he’s a hero. That the Democrats just hate him no matter what. That, as Dan Bongino said, “this was a professional hit on Donald Trump. I have no doubt.” And that, as Mark Meadows told Lou Dobbs, “the president didn’t do anything wrong.” Trump tweeted out three different clips from Dobbs’ show on Thursday… and two clips from Sean Hannity’s show…
    → Gabriel Sherman reported on Thursday that Fox’s Shep Smith was told to stop critiquing Tucker Carlson. A Fox spokesperson denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith. At issue: The question of whether Trump is in legal jeopardy.
    → Oliver Darcy writes: A chyron on Laura Ingraham’s show said ‘Legal Experts: Both Call And Complaint Show No Criminality or Basis for Impeachment.’ Fox’s senior legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said Trump admitted to a crime. Shep Smith has cited other experts who agree. It’s nuts how it has become totally normal for Fox’s biggest stars to totally undermine and contradict the reporting and analysis from their own colleagues…

    NYT’s banner headline on Friday

    The front page says “COMPLAINT ASSERTS A WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP.”
    news
    …And that’s arguably the biggest headline from Thursday: The whistleblower’s allegation that senior White House officials tried to “lock down” a record of Trump’s call, and that other politically sensitive info may have been treated the same way…

    NYT criticized for identifying whistleblower’s workplace

    Who is the whistleblower? Where does he work? What were his motives? Reporters have been chasing these Q’s for more than a week. On Thursday the NYT came out with a story describing the whistleblower as a CIA officer, though not naming him. The paper was widely criticized for sharing the details. The man’s lawyer, Andrew Bakaj, said the report was “reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way.” The WSJ later matched the NYT’s reporting.
    Times exec editor Dean Baquet initially defended the reporting this way: “The role of the whistle-blower, including his credibility and his place in the government, is essential to understanding one of the most important issues facing the country — whether the president of the U.S. abused power and whether the W.H. covered it up.”

    Did the W.H. already know where the man worked?

    On Thursday evening, the NYT came out with more: “The White House learned that a C.I.A. officer had lodged allegations against President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine even as the officer’s whistle-blower complaint was moving through a process meant to protect him against reprisals, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.”
    Baquet updated his statement to note, “We also understand that the White House already knew he was a C.I.A. officer.” If that’s the case, it takes some of the heat off the NYT, for sure…

    The LAT’s scoop

    Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times was the first reporter with quotes from Trump’s shocking remarks to a group of diplomatic officials on Thursday. The NYT followed a few minutes later. The LAT was also first with the audio. “When I heard it for the first time today, it just took me aback,” Stokols told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, calling it “casually menacing.”
    → In his remarks, Trump also said “many” reporters are “scum,” a word that he has mostly deployed against MS-13 gang members and other criminals in the past. He also called members of the press “animals” and “some of the worst human beings you’ll ever meet.”

    Coming up on Friday…

    — Nancy Pelosi will be on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at 7:30am…
    — Pelosi and House Dems will be holding a presser on 200 days of “Senate GOP Inaction” at 9:30am…
    — BTW, Friday marks 200 days without an on-camera White House press briefing…

    FOR THE RECORD

    — TIME’s cover this week has Trump painting himself into an orange corner…
    — Greg Miller’s analysis: “The whistleblower has by some measures exceeded in weeks what Mueller accomplished in two years: producing a file so concerning and sound that it singlehandedly set in motion the gears of impeachment.” (WaPo)
    — Lester Holt at the end of “Nightly News” on Thursday: “If history is any guide, this will only get uglier. And louder. And yes, further leach at this country’s political divide. Which makes our collective challenge even more important: To listen. To ask. To examine the facts and demand nothing short of the truth. That’s what we endeavor to do here every night. And will continue to do as this story unfolds…” (Mediaite)
    — Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon library: “The Whistleblower complaint is from a patriot who understands and fears Abuse of Power. If even 50 % of his fears are accurate, we are in a variation of Nixonland again…” (Twitter)
    — Samantha Storey in praise of the whistleblower’s complaint: “It’s well written. It’s clear. The sentences are easy to read. Its point ― that the president of the United States has undermined America’s democracy ― screams off the page…” (HuffPost)

    McConnell’s silence

    “Sen. Mitch McConnell, who often ignores reporters’ questions but sometimes engages, just ignored three of mine,” CNN’s Manu Raju reported Thursday afternoon. “I asked him if he’s concerned the whistleblower alleged Trump sought help from a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 elections. I asked if he’s concerned that the WH allegedly sought to conceal the president’s conversations And I asked if he has any concerns with Trump asking the Ukraine president to talk [to] Rudy Giuliani.” McConnell “walked in silence…”
    → Related, and the headline of the day, from the WSJ: “Everyone In Washington Is Reading the Whistleblower Complaint — Except Senate Republicans.”

      Romney is not alone, but…

      Jonathan Martin is out with a must-read story about Mitt Romney. He says Romney’s public statements of concern “reflect what many in his party believe privately but are almost uniformly unwilling to say: that they are faced with damning revelations about the president that are difficult to explain away, and are unsure of whether there is more damaging material to come.” This calls to mind what Mike Murphy said on MSNBC the other day: “One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump.”

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      Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson on surviving the trolls: ‘People were saying horrific things’

      Eight years after she shot to fame on The X Factor, Nelson describes how she navigated the trauma of being relentlessly bullied on social media

      culture

      When Jesy Nelson was 19 and working behind the bar at a pub in Dagenham, Essex, she remembers watching The X Factor on TV, and thinking: I know I could win that. In 2011, she did just that, as part of the girl group Little Mix and thought: This is the worst day of my life.

      Competing in Simon Cowells singing contest unleashed ceaseless criticism of her appearance and weight (although rarely her voice). All I cared about was what people were saying about me, she says now.

      Winning offered no respite. When Little Mix were crowned, the first Facebook message she saw was from a stranger. It read: You are the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life. You do not deserve to be in this girl band, you deserve to die.

      I should have been on cloud nine, she says. I had Leigh-Anne [Pinnock, also of Little Mix] in my room being like: This is the best! and I was like: No, this isnt.

      Little Mix went on to become the biggest British girl group since the Spice Girls, but Nelson was consumed by the trolling and abuse on social media. Within two years of the finale, she had depression and an eating disorder and had attempted suicide.

      The downward spiral and her eventual, slow recovery are the focus of an intensely personal BBC One documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out. Before shooting it, she says, she had never spoken publicly about her struggles in the spotlight.

      When we meet in a corner of BBC Broadcasting House in central London, Nelson, now 28, is friendly and glamorous, dressed in a double-breasted tangerine suit. It is the eighth anniversary of her X Factor debut and #8YearsofLittleMix has been trending on Twitter all morning, thanks to their fans, the Mixers.

      On
      On The X Factor in 2011: (from left) Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson. Photograph: Ken McKay/Talkback Thames/Rex/Shutterstock

      Within minutes of sitting down, she says that, had she known the consequences of appearing on The X Factor, she wouldnt have done it: I dont think anything is worth your happiness, and it was a lot of my life that I wont get back.

      As a child growing up in Romford, Essex, Nelson was intent on becoming a performer, be it singing, dancing or acting. I didnt really have any reason to not be confident, she says.

      In mid-2011, she auditioned for The X Factor as a solo entrant, and was eventually placed in a group with three others: Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, all aged between 18 and 20.

      Back then, social media was not as inextricably linked with reality TV as it is now. In fact, that eighth series was the first where applicants could upload their audition videos to YouTube; Nelson didnt even know what YouTube was. She remembers being wowed when all the contestants were given new Samsung phones and told to get on Twitter to build their fanbase.

      On the first live show 12 weeks in, Little Mix (then Rhythmix the name was changed later) performed Nicki Minajs Super Bass to gushing praise from judges Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and their mentor Tulisa Contostavlos. It was the best feeling in the world, said Nelson through happy tears on stage.

      That night, off-camera, the contestants gathered to watch themselves on YouTube. Someone pointed out the comment section. I was very naive, says Nelson. I thought it would be people giving their opinion on our performance. But nearly every comment was about the way I looked: Shes a fat ugly rat; How has she got in this girl group?; How is the fat one in this? She remembers the air being thick with tension because no one knew what to do or how to react.

      I felt a rush of anxiety, because Id never experienced anything like that in my life. People were saying my face was deformed just the most horrific things. I felt like I was heartbroken. I remember ringing my mum and saying: Mum, I want to go home, I dont want to do it.

      Jesy
      Jesy Nelson with Liz Richie in the forthcoming BBC documentary Odd One Out. Photograph: Rahul Bhatt/BBC/October Films

      At about 1am, a member of The X Factor team found Nelson crying alone and asked why she was so upset. A couple of days later, she was asked to explain again on camera. She didnt want to do it. They told me it wasnt recorded, and it was.

      A few weeks later, the clip of Nelson in tears over a few nasty comments was broadcast before Little Mixs performance, the reality TV playbook of sad piano switching to upbeat pop music when Thirlwall comforts her: an uplifting moment of girl power. From then on, that was Nelsons public narrative.

      She does not hold that clip, or the producers, responsible: I think it would have always happened that just added fuel to the fire. From the start, relatability had been billed as a central tenet of Little Mixs appeal. Contostavlos introduced them as the girl group to represent ladies in this country; she framed Nelsons tears as evidence of Little Mix having the same insecurities as every other girl.

      Nelson, however, was the only member even remotely close to the average UK woman at size 16. Although the four bandmates have always been friends thats why were still together she felt singled out. I was with three other girls to be compared to. I dont think it would have been as bad if Id been on my own.

      After the clip presented her as Little Mixs weakest link, the abuse snowballed. It was like as soon as people knew that it was really affecting me, they wanted to do it more. Nelson had been bullied at school, to the point of stress-induced alopecia but this wasnt playground stuff.

      She was shocked by the cruelty from adults some clearly parents. Obviously everyone sits in their living room and will see someone on TV and make a comment. But to actually pick up your phone and go: Im going to make sure this girl sees it even if they didnt think I was going to see it you have no idea the effect that one comment will have.

      Nelson became obsessed with reading criticism. The praise didnt register. It only got worse when I got Twitter. And that led to the Daily Mail, and reading the [below the line] comments the worst you can read about yourself. It was like I purposely wanted to hurt myself.

      I had a routine of waking up, going on Twitter, searching for the worst things I could about myself. Id type in the search bar: Jesy fat, or Jesy ugly, and see what would come up. Sometimes I didnt even need to do that, Id just write Jesy and then Id see all the horrible things. Everyone told me to ignore it but it was like an addiction.

      At one event, Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud who had seen the clip of her crying took Nelson aside. She said: Can I just give you one bit of advice? Please dont read stuff about you. Its the worst thing you could do.

      Little
      Little Mix in Sydney, Australia, in 2013: (from left) Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson. Photograph: Newspix/Rex

      Nelson rolls her eyes self-mockingly. But did I listen? No.

      Contestants had been told help was available if they were struggling, but Nelson had learned that talking only made the problem worse. I dont think any of the team really knew how upset it was making me its just go-go-go, from the car into hair and makeup, then rehearsals.

      It was also a popularity contest. We just wanted to make everyone happy, and we wanted everyone to like us.

      In December 2011, Little Mix became the first group to win The X Factor. Their debut single entered the charts at No 1 seven months later; DNA, their first album, was released in November 2012. Scrutiny of Nelson only increased amid the pressure to maintain momentum.

      Although she tried not to discuss it, she feels the abuse came to define her public image. Id become a bit of a joke. People would make memes, chopping my head off in a group photo and putting a monster or ET on there. Id be in live Q&As and these things would pop up and Id have to just sit there.

      Interviewers asked her how she dealt with it; fans said they looked up to her. She was depressed and in denial: she refused antidepressants, and therapy didnt help. Our schedule was so gruelling. I was going to see a therapist at six oclock in the morning, crying, and then going to a photoshoot.

      Meanwhile, in public, she was giving speeches about being confident. Little Mix, as the guardians of girl power, were not only supposed to represent every woman, but defend every woman.

      I felt I had to be this person who was like Nelson juts her jaw, sashays from side to side, a facsimile of her sassy music-video persona: I dont care what people are saying about me, Im this strong woman. That was the role I had to take on in the group, when really I was an absolute mess.

      In the lead-up to TV performances or video shoots: Id starve myself Id drink Diet Coke for a solid four days and then, when I felt a bit dizzy, Id eat a pack of ham because I knew it had no calories. Then Id binge eat, then hate myself.

      Yet she did not see herself as having an eating disorder. I could see that I was losing weight and sometimes Id see a few good comments and that spiralled me to be like: This is how I need to stay. No one cares whether your performance was good, or if you sounded great.

      Nelson
      Nelson in Odd One Out. Photograph: Jamie Simonds/BBC/October Films

      Nelson started skipping events where she knew she would be photographed. On one magazine shoot, the wrong size clothes were provided. I had a meltdown. I cried so much, I had to wear sunglasses. I did one photo, then left. She hid her misery well, she says now. I think people just thought I was a miserable bitch.

      Her lowest point was in the lead-up to Little Mixs second album, Salute, in 2013. Her mum, Janice, increasingly desperate, told her she had to quit the band. Yet Nelson worried that leaving or even taking a break would draw more attention to herself. Everyones going to ask why.

      In November 2013, Little Mix returned to The X Factor to perform their new single, Nelson notably slimmed down. Coverage centred on one tweet from Katie Hopkins: Packet Mix have still got a chubber in their ranks. Less Little Mix. More Pick n Mix.

      Increasingly, Nelson felt trapped. I felt that I physically couldnt tolerate the pain any more. She attempted suicide.

      Nelsons family, her management and the rest of the group knew but once it was spoken about, it wasnt ever spoken about again, she says. She was offered time off, but once more was too frightened of drawing attention to herself to take it.

      The turning point came in February 2014, when Little Mix spent six weeks travelling across North America, opening for Demi Lovato. One day, on the bus, the dancers pulled her aside and told her she had to quit Twitter, likening it to a book filled with loads of nasty things that Nelson always had her nose in. She finally deleted her account.

      It was a long, hard process, because I didnt want to help myself. But it wasnt until I deleted Twitter that everything changed for me and I slowly started to feel normal again. Through more regular therapy and talking to friends and family, eventually she was able to stop reading articles about herself, and distance herself from her public image even as Little Mixs star continued to climb. In 2016, Glory Days became their first No 1 album in the UK.

      Since February, Nelson has been dating the 2017 Love Island contestant Chris Hughes, who has defended her publicly from online trolling and who she says is a positive influence on her feelings about fame: Its nice to be around someone who doesnt give a shit about all that stuff.

      Making the documentary also contributed; she lights up while talking about meeting a body-image specialist, Liz Ritchie, to help her understand her relationship with social media and the mask that she had developed to withstand the spotlight. Part of this involved going over footage from The X Factor, which was a difficult experience, but ultimately empowering.

      Dont get me wrong, I still have days when I feel shit in myself but instead of beating myself up about it and being miserable, I think: OK, Im going to have my moment of being sad, and Ill be over it. Before, I didnt let myself be sad.

      Talking to other young people who have experienced online abuse made her feel less alone. A lot of people think stop moaning, but until youve experienced it, its hard to understand and it doesnt just happen to people in the limelight. Theres so many people struggling with social media and online trolling. People need to know about the effects it has.

      The turnaround in five years, she agrees, is remarkable: now, as Little Mix work on their sixth album, Nelson is less conscious of her weight, her appearance, what shes eating even what is being said about her. To shoot the documentary, she returned to Twitter, and discovered some new slurs. I didnt even know some people said that about me, but its because I dont look for it and also, I. Dont. Care, she says, leaning forward in her chair.

      Now Im mentally a lot happier, I just think people are always going to have an opinion. But I only care about mine. She flashes a smile from beneath all her hair, happy but defiant and for a moment she looks exactly like the girl in the music videos.

      Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out is on BBC One at 9pm on 12 September, and will be available on BBC iPlayer.

      In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and the domestic violence helpline is on 0808 2000 247. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. In the US, the suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and the domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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      ‘The Lion King’ sinks its teeth into critic-audience divide

      'The Lion King' sinks its teeth into critic-audience divide - CNN

      (CNN)As “The Lion King” counts up receipts from a big opening weekend while still licking its wounds from negative reviews, you can almost hear the familiar murmurs — that critics are “out of step” with the audiences they profess to serve.

      It’s a notion that contains a few crumbs of truth, but also a host of misconceptions.
      At the risk of painting with too broad a brush, critics — simply by virtue of seeing so many productions in a particular field — are almost by definition a little out of step. Because they see everything (or as much as is humanly possible), they’re generally predisposed to look for that which is different, novel or otherwise distinctive.
      That’s a difficult bar to achieve when remaking anything, especially an animated movie that’s essentially just being redone using a different animation technique. From that perspective, “The Lion King” is as much a consumer product as it is a movie.
        Why another “Lion King” some have asked, 25 years later? Because audiences often seek familiar experiences, especially when it means sharing a story with their kids. Whether it’s “Star Wars” or Batman, people who enjoyed those franchises in their youth not only tend to still like them, but relish the opportunity to share them with their kids.
        So is its success — with an estimated $185-million debut weekend in North America, a box-office feast fit for a you know what — a rebuke to critics, or at least, those who panned it, yielding tepid averages on review-aggregation sites? Not really.
        For starters, it’s always dicey inferring a connection between making a lot of money and quality. McDonald’s sells millions of burgers, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good for you, or worthy of a four-star rating.
        Second, it’s faulty to assume that critics who panned the movie were either rooting against it or felt their negative opinions would dissuade people inclined to see it.
        entertainment
        Indeed, the reality of modern criticism means writing about films and TV shows that are essentially review-proof, as well as showering praise (occasionally) on smaller projects with scant hope of garnering big crowds.
        There is, perhaps, an “old man yells at cloud” quality to lamenting the studios’ reliance on remakes, reboots and revivals, as some early reviews did. Disney made “The Lion King” for the same reason it did “Beauty and the Beast” and will do “The Little Mermaid” — not to ruin or raid your childhood, but because it thinks it can make a buck off of it. That’s hardly new, and as studios try to cut through the content clutter, even less likely to change.
        Viewed that way, it’s possible to accept and even enjoy the simplicity of something like this latest “Lion King” without seeing anything remotely exciting about it, and nothing wrong with trying to temper the expectations of those hoping to be wowed. In fact, critics unmoved by the experience would be remiss, and dishonest, if they didn’t.
        The best summation of this whole argument, frankly, came from Craig Mazin, the writer and producer of HBO’s “Chernobyl.” On Twitter, he responded to presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who veered out of his lane to opine that he found Disney’s live-action remakes of “The Lion King” “and other movies I grew up with a bit depressing. It’s like we can’t come up with new stories.”
        “Aladdin is about a thousand years old. Lion King is Hamlet,” Mazin wrote. “They weren’t so new when you saw them either. Let the kids enjoy.”
          The strong box-office results for “Aladdin” (whose reviews were also fairly tepid) and now “The Lion King” will only ensure that more remakes are pushed into the pipeline.
          Whether seeing such fare sounds appetizing is, of course, up to the individual consumer. For critics, by contrast, it’s usually just one of the mandatory groups in what can be an unhealthy movie-going diet.

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          World’s largest frogs can move rocks half their weight

          news The Goliath frog belongs to the largest known frog species in the world.(Credit: M. Schäfer/Frogs & Friends e.V.)

          The world’s largest frogs may also have the best pollywog daycare on the market. To protect its wee tadpoles, these enormous amphibians build their own “nursery ponds,” sometimes moving rocks more than half their weight to do so, and then guarding the pond to ensure the next generation’s survival, a new study details.

          The finding marks the first time scientists have described the Goliath frog’s(Conraua goliath) unique nest-building and parenting tactics. However, local frog hunters in Cameroon have known about it for years, and they were the first to tell the researchers about the frogs’ parental dedication.

          In fact, the researchers were studying something completely different (they were studying the diet of Goliath tadpoles) when “we heard about the breeding behavior of the Goliaths and decided to investigate if it [were] true or not,” said study senior researcher Mark-Oliver Rödel, curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum in Berlin. [15 of the Largest Animals of Their Kind on Earth]

          The 7.3-lb. (3.3 kilograms) Goliath frog is native to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. To learn more about its nesting quirks, the scientists spent part of spring 2018 searching a 1,300-foot (400 meters) section of the Mpoula River in western Cameroon. They also interviewed four frog hunters and two villagers who lived near the river to learn more about C. goliath’s habits.

          In all, the scientists found 22 breeding sites, 14 of which had almost 3,000 eggs apiece. The team even set up a time-lapse video at one nest, which showed a Goliath guarding the nest at night.

          These frogs are creative builders, constructing three different types of nests, the researchers found. One type, the rock-pool nest, was built on larger rocks within the river, meaning that “frogs were using pre-existing structures for breeding,” the researchers wrote in the study.

          For the second type, frogs used naturally existing shallow pools near the river as nests. It appeared that the frogs had enlarged these pools, the researchers noticed, in essence turning a cottage into a McMansion. For the third type, the frogs dug small ponds, surrounding them with large stones, some weighing up to 4.4 lbs. (2 kg).

          Impressively, none of these nests had debris in them, suggesting that the frogs also acted as housekeepers, keeping the ponds clean for their tadpoles. “We have never observed them directly, but from indirect evidence, it is apparent that they push out material (e.g. leaves, pebbles) from natural ponds or push away larger and smaller stones to create their ‘own’ ponds,” Rödel told Live Science in an email.

          It’s likely that the male frogs, which are more than 1.1 feet (34 centimeters) long, use “their huge and very muscular hind legs” to move the stones, he added.

          While the researchers never directly witnessed a Goliath frog digging a nest, “the most detailed description we got (from one frog hunter) was that the male would construct the nest while the female waits in proximity,” the scientists wrote in the study. “Once the nest is finished, the male whistles to attract the female, which then is grasped by the male and eggs are deposited. Afterwards, the female would guard the nest and subsequently open the nest towards the river.”

          Is daycare worth the cost?

          The frogs invest a substantial amount of energy into nest-building, cleaning and guarding. But is it worth it? If their tadpoles survive, it absolutely is, but it appears each nest has benefits and challenges, the researchers found. Nests within a riverbed can flood from heavy rains, allowing predators such as shrimp and fish to get inside and devour the tadpoles, said Rödel, who is also the president of Frogs & Friends, the nongovernmental organization that co-funded the research. [So Tiny! Miniature Frog Species Are Among World’s Smallest (Photos)]

          Digging a pond alongside the river would sidestep these predators, but if it doesn’t rain for a spell, the pond could dry up, killing the tadpoles. “Thus, each of the three nest types has advantages and disadvantages, and the frogs need to choose what is best at a certain time,” Rödel said.

          Goliath frogs aren’t the only amphibian superparents out there. The gladiator frog (Hypsiboas rosenbergi) in South America builds nests for its young, while the male African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) guards tadpoles and digs channels up to 40 feet (12 m) long to allow tadpoles to escape from drying pools, the researchers noted. However, Goliath is the only known African frog to build nesting ponds, the researchers said.

          Unfortunately, the Goliath frog is endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, largely because of habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, disease and hunting. (The frogs are considered a luxury food and are often served at weddings, Rödel said.)

          It would be a shame to lose these creatures without fully understanding them, he said. “The reason why we wanted (and actually did) study the tadpoles, was that we needed to know more about the biology of the species, just to make sure we know what to do in case a captive breeding program might be the last chance for the Goliaths’ survival in the future.”

          The study was published online Friday (Aug. 9) in the Journal of Natural History.

          Originally published on Live Science.

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