Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 26, 2008
While the thought of an antagonistic beach ball-sized frog terrifies me — even as a fossil — scientists working in Madagascar are thrilled with the possible clues it provides to back up long held suspicions of ancient planetary shifts>.
Bits of the 70-million-year-old remains were first discovered over ten years ago. Over time, paleontologists were able to locate and piece together what appears to be a frog measuring a whopping 16 inches high and weighing approximately 10 pounds. Named Beelzebufo (“devil frog”), it is believed to be the largest frog species the planet has ever seen and is genetically linked to modern day South American big-mouthed frogs known as ceratophyrines (from the genus ceratophrys) or “Pac-Man” frogs.
Like its South American relatives — which are known for their aggressive, ambush-like behavior — the fossilized frog was round with a large mouth but also “sported a protective shield and powerful jaws” that scientists believe “may have enabled it to kill hatchling dinosaurs.”
But the big question is: how on earth did the species evolve from the coast of Africa to South America?
It’s long been thought that present day Madagascar was once connected to Africa as part of a supercontinent known as Gondwana, which broke free over 88 million years ago. But, according to National Geographic, scientists now believe the remains of Beelzebufo may “provide proof of a later physical link between South America and Madagascar, most likely through a connection with Antarctica.”
Scientists believe it will take the unearthing of more fossils to prove or disprove this theory. Until then, try not to think about the giant frog from hell while falling asleep…