What’s your favorite animal? Dog, monkey, cat… Probably not a frog. And if you were around in Madagascar 70 million years ago, you would probably have disliked frogs even more than you do now – you could well have seen what has been dubbed the ‘frog from hell’.
Why? Scientists in Madagascar have discovered the fossilized remains of a giant frog that was the largest ever known to have lived, measuring up to as big as a beach ball.
Not only would it have dwarfed any frog alive today, but it could also have enjoyed eating dinosaur hatchlings. Like South America’s giant frogs today, it likely had a ferocious temper; together with the fact it had horns on its head, it would have been one scary (as well as slimy) animal to bump into.
However, Beelzebufo‘s nasty influence has even extended through 70 million into the scientific debates of today. The problem puzzling scientists is that although this giant was found in Madagascar, the only giant frogs alive today are those in South America, leading to the obvious conclusion that Madagascar and South America must once have been linked.
There is still a lot of debate surrounding the issue, but the discovery of this frog lends support to the theory that South America and Madagascar were actually once both joined to Antarctica as recently as 65 million years ago, back when Antarctica was actually quite warm. (Click here for an interactive timeline of prehistoric Earth)
It’s powerful evidence of how science is so interlinked – the discovery of an animal fossil may well help to unravel one of the great geological mysteries of our time.
Filed under: Exploration, Nature, Science | Tagged: Americas, amphibian, animal, animals, Beelzebufo, Earth, fossil, fossils, frog, frog from hell, frogs, geology, hell, history, Madagascar, prehistoric, South America, toad |