Archive for February 20th, 2008

Beelzebufo, the Demon Frog

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A team of researchers, led by Stony Brook University paleontologist David Krause, has discovered the remains in Madagascar of what may be the largest frog ever to exist.

The 16-inch, 10-pound ancient frog, scientifically named Beelzebufo, or devil frog, links a group of frogs that lived 65 to 70 million years ago with frogs living today in South America.

Discovery of the voracious predatory fossil frog — reported on-line this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) — is significant in that it may provide direct evidence of a one-time land connection between Madagascar, the largest island off Africa’s southeast coast, and South America.

“Beelzebufo appears to be a very close relative of a group of South
American frogs known as ‘ceratophyrines,’ or ‘pac-man’ frogs, because
of their immense mouths,” said Krause, whose research was funded by the
National Science Foundation (NSF). The ceratophryines are known to
camouflage themselves in their surroundings, then ambush predators.

from Eureka Alert

Good thing these babies are extinct! As anyone who has ever been attacked by “Pac-Man” frogs knows, those things can eat their way through a cloud of skeeters in about two shakes, and they are tiny!  Imagining what a ten pounder could do is enough to keep us awake at night.

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