Fossil frog first found in Antarctica

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Scientists conducting research on the island of Simor at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula found fragments of a hip joint and a frog’s skull there. This find, an article about which was published in Scientific Reports , can significantly change the idea of ​​the ancient climate of Antarctica.

Previously, scientists have repeatedly found evidence of the existence of giant amphibians on the continent: they reigned here about 200 million years ago, in the Triassic period. However, researchers did not discover any remains of creatures that would resemble the existing amphibians.

The age of the remains is about 40 million years. The shape of the bones found on Shimor Island indicates that this frog belonged to the family Calyptocephalellidae . The modern representatives of this family, helmet-headed whistlers, today live in South America, in the warm and humid valleys of the central Andes. This indicates the fact that only forty million years ago a similar climate was in Antarctica.

The find changes the way scientists think about how rapidly the climate on the continent has changed. According to most scientists, Antarctica pretty quickly covered with ice just about forty million years ago, after separation from Australia, with which it was once part of the Gondwana supercontinent. But some data indicate that the formation of ice sheets in Antarctica started even before it completely separated from other modern continents of the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth.

“The question is how cold it was and what lived on the continent when the ice cover began to form,” says one of the authors of the study, paleontologist Thomas Mears. “This frog is further proof that at that time, at least on the [Antarctic] peninsula, the habitat was still suitable for cold-blooded animals such as reptiles and amphibians.”

Earlier, we reported that fossils of a probable ancestor of most modern multicellular animals were found in South Australia , and paleontologists found a transition link between wasps and bees in Myanmar.

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