Monday, December 27, 2010

Beelzebufo

70 million years ago, on the island of Madagascar, there lived a frog, but it was not just any frog. Beelzebufo ampinga was the largest frog to have ever lived... so large in fact that it may have actually consumed dinosaur hatchlings.

(Image Source)
Let's compare, shall we? The largest frog alive today is the Goliath Frog of West Africa. It can grow up to 12in (30cm) and weigh 7lbs (3.2kg). Beelzebufo was over 16in (40.6cm) and weighed 10lbs (4.6kg)!

Beelzebufo is notable not only for its size, but also for what it says about Madagascar and its connection to the continent of South America. It was previously believed that the connection was lost as long as 120 million year ago, but Beelzevufo's close relationship to modern South American Ceratophyrine (Pac-man) Frogs, suggests that the island and the continent were linked for much longer.

Beelzebufo was more than twice the size of its closest living relative, but they all possess the same large mouths and powerful jaws. It also most likely hunted by the "sit-and-wait" approach. Beelzebufo was first discovered in 1993 and published about in 2007 and 2008. Over 75 fossil pieces have been discovered.

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