February 21, 2008

Meet the Devil Toad

Posted by: Rebecca Durkin

With Dino Day coming up on March 1, I’ve had the old beasts on the brain lately. It’s never too hard to feed my fossil appetite, because there’s always something in the news from dino-times. This week, it’s an ancient hell frog…

They are calling it Beelzebufo – “devil toad” or “frog from hell.”

The bowling-ball-sized frog that lived among (and possibly snacked on) dinosaurs 70 million years ago is making some scientists rethink ancient geography. This fossil frog found on Madagascar is most closely related to South American frogs, suggesting to some that land bridges may have still connected the separated land masses at the time Beelzebufo lived.

Details are now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Let the debates begin!

(I have to confess, while dinos are cool, at the Burke's Dino Day, I’m often more interested in the fossils of the other plants and animals living at the time of the dinosaurs – the paleontological underdogs, overshadowed by the popular giants. Here’s to the devil toads, marine reptiles, and ammonites so often ignored!)

- Rebecca

Photo: Artist impression of the "devil toad," courtesy of Stonybrook University.