A 70-million-year-old fossil of a giant frog has been discovered in unearthed in Madagascar. According to its discoverers it would have weighed about 4kg (9lb). Amusingly, the fossil has been nicknamed Beelzebufo or "frog from hell".
Details of the discovery are reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A team from University College London (UCL) and Stony Brook University, New York, said the frog would have had a body length of about 40cm (16 inches), and was among the largest of its kind to be found.
"A relative of today's horned toads, it would have been the size of a slightly squashed beach-ball, with short legs and a big mouth," explained co-author Susan Evans, from UCL's Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. If it shared the aggressive temperament and 'sit-and-wait' ambush tactics of horned toads, it would have been a formidable predator on small animals. Its diet would most likely have consisted of insects and small vertebrates like lizards, but it's not impossible that Beelzebufo might even have munched on hatchling or juvenile dinosaurs."
The researchers added that the discovery of the fossil supported the theory that Madagascar and the Indian and South American land masses could have been linked until the Late Cretaceous Period (75-65 million years ago). "Our discovery of a frog strikingly different from today's Madagascan frogs, and akin to the horned toads previously considered endemic to South America, lends weight to the controversial model," Professor Evans explained.
I've always been intrigued by the separation of the land masses and if a giant toad helps, then that's all to the good.
Interesting, Jams! A 9lb frog is certainly large. I wouldn't want that one jumping around in my garden... or would I....
And imagine the noise.
On the other hand, the French and their chefs de cuisine would be delighted.
I have to say that I'm rather glad that some of these species have become extinct.
They have recently (1996?) discovered that until the Pliocene, there was another bit of Gondwana, the Kerguelen plateeau, which also afforded a late land bridge, until the late cretaceous.
I'm sure I saw that some crazily high figure of species are unique to Madagascar, I can't remember, but it was over 5%, I'm sure. I'll check that.
Maddy, Crushed, it is interesting (not that I have any knowledge of that subjet to speak of) THe proporti90n of species peculiar to Madagascar is pretty high, Crushed. I wouldn't be surprised if it's that high.
A 9lb frog would certainly be safe from the cats, that's for sure LB!
I can imagine that a leg off that one could feed a family Sean
THere are some species it is perhaps better are not around now. There were 60 foot long crocs and a onitor that made the Komodo, look like a tiddler!
That would have been big enough to eat my cat. :-(
It could eat our girl cats although Robyn and Ted may be a bit more than they could swallow....
I wouldn't want to find one of those in my garden [not that I have one, now!]
I think I would run away, run away very fast!
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