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Charles Walcott, former dean of the university faculty and professor emeritus of neurobiology and behavior, visits a local pond where toads congregate to mate and lay eggs.

It's a raucous scene--male toads trill to attract females, and those lucky enough to do so are besieged by competing males. Nonetheless, eggs are laid and fertilized resulting in clouds of tiny black tadpoles. In due course these give rise to tiny toads that will grow up in field and forest, and return a year or two later to continue the cycle.