Monday, February 18, 2008

The grandaddy of all frogs

From Madagascar comes a startling fossil find - what may be the largest frog that ever lived. With an armored skull, a body the size of a bowling ball, and an overall length of 40cm, the animal dwarfs all other known frogs, living or extinct. The amphibian named Beelzebufo ampinga - the "devil frog" - lived 65 to 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous. It weighed about twice as much as the largest living species, the Goliath frog. Another oddity (as if a giant armored frog wasn't odd enough) is that this creature's closest relatives today live in South America, not on Madagascar or in neighboring Africa. Paleontologists are still trying to puzzle that one out.

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