Prehistoric frog preserved in amber
Four specimens of prehistoric frogs trapped in amber 99 million years ago open a window into a lost world. These are the oldest and best-preserved fossil records of frogs and provide direct evidence that ancient frogs lived in moist, tropical forests.
Encased in amber, an extinct frog species has been named Electrorana limoae. This is one of four fossils thatore provide the earliest direct evidence of theow on the fact that frogs lived in moist, tropical forests. These are also the oldest known frog specimens preserved in amber.
– It is almost unheard of to obtain a fossil specimen of a frog from this period. In the small frog you can see its tiny bones. This is quite unique – said David Blackburn of the Florida Museum of Natural History, coołautor of research describing the unknown species in the publication, whichora appeared on the pages of „Scientific Reports”.
– But the most exciting thing about this animal is its context. These frogs were part of a tropical ecosystem, whichory in some respects mohead not rodiffer too much from what we find today – no dinosaurow – added Blackburn.
Frogs appeared on Earth around 200 millionow years ago. However, insight into their early life is difficult, because there are not many well-preserved specimensoin fossil frogs. Especially frogs living in tropical forests. Most of the fossil record typically consists of large species ofow, coming from arid environments.
Frogs preserved in amber are an extremely rare phenomenon. To date, two other specimens have been found. One in the Dominican Republic and another in Mexico. Dating indicates that they are respectively about 40 millionoin and 25 millionoin years.
Four ambers with preserved frogs were found in Myanmar (formerly Burma). The ambers there are a treasure trove of knowledge on the most roThe frogs are the more common creatures, whichore lived on Earth millions of years before us. Provide unique insights into the history of ancient ecosystemsoin forests, with fossil evidence of mossesow, plants, aquatic spidersow and strange wormsow.
Photo. Lida Xing/Florida Museum
Discovery Electrorana limoae and other fossils of prehistoric frogs, will help researchers better understand the history of these creatures during the Cretaceous period, showing that they inhabited wet, tropical forests from at least 99 millionoin years.
Electrorana limoae is the best-preserved group of prehistoric frogs. The best specimen of the four new amberow is about 2.5 centimeters long. The frog’s skull, fore limbs, part of the spine, a partial hind limb and an unidentified beetle are clearly visible, whichory was likely a would-be victim of the frog.
The researchers believe that the specimen found in amber was a young individual, not fully developed. This makes research difficult, because many skeletal features, ktorych researchers use to determine howob frog is related to other species, is not yet fully formed.
What is preserved in amber indicates that Electrorana limoae can be related to two species of toads. However, these species now live in temperate climates, not in wet rainforests. Other amber fossils include two forelegs and an imprint of a frog, ktora probably disintegrated inside the resin.