BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Frogs have been around for quite a long time, but it turns out they occupied rainforests much earlier than we thought.
Researchers discovered four such frogs preserved in amber, and their age proved they have been living in their current habitat for at least 100 million years. The discovery is quite remarkable, since forest frog fossils aren’t so common, and researchers couldn’t tell when they first got established in these habitats.
Researchers Didn’t Know When Frogs Started Populating Rainforests
Frogs emerged on this planet around 200 million years ago, but researchers have never been able to tell when they first moved to rainforests. Today, this is their most common habitat, as there are over 7,000 frog species that populate them.
However, the creatures are small and easy to blend in, so finding their fossils in such a vast habitat has always been tough. This means one single thing. Without fossil evidence to support any claims, researchers couldn’t find out when frogs moved from a dry habitat to these wet tropical forests.
The Four Frogs Preserved in Amber Changed What We Knew of This Species
Fortunately, a team of researchers made exquisite discoveries in the northern region of Myanmar. There, they found four frogs preserved in amber, together with other resin drops containing other plants and creatures. For the first time, researchers could peek into the composition of rainforests during the Cretaceous.
Judging from all the amber pieces, they discovered that the rainforest in question was situated somewhere near a beach. It also probably had plenty of ponds and water sources. Therefore, the ancient habitat was quite similar to the rainforests of today. Then, the next step was to date the four frogs preserved in amber.
For this, researchers used some combined methods. They first looked at the geological pieces trapped in amber and then dated the other creatures as well. While they couldn’t identify all the characteristics of the frogs, they could see these specimens haven’t changed much throughout millions of years.
The study on the four frogs preserved in amber was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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