New 270-million-year-old amphibian species sheds light on evolution of frogs

Scientists have made an exciting discovery in the world of paleontology, with the unveiling of a new ancient amphibian species called Kermitops gratus. This 270-million-year-old amphibian ancestor was first unearthed in 1984 in Texas, but its significance has only recently come to light.

The fossilized skull of Kermitops was kept in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, where researchers have been studying it in detail. The findings of their research have been published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, shedding light on the unique characteristics of this newly discovered species.

Named after the beloved Muppet character Kermit the Frog, created by Jim Henson, Kermitops is a type of temnospondyl, a primitive amphibian that lived over 200 million years ago. The skull of Kermitops has distinct features that set it apart from previously discovered species, offering new insights into the evolution of amphibians.

Researchers believe that Kermitops likely fed on grubs and small insects, much like modern-day frogs and salamanders. However, there are key differences between Kermitops and present-day amphibians, including the presence of palpebral bones and teeth in different locations.

The discovery of Kermitops is significant as it could help bridge the gap in understanding how modern-day frogs and salamanders developed. By studying this ancient species, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary history of amphibians and how they have adapted to their environments over millions of years.

Overall, the discovery of Kermitops gratus is a testament to the importance of continuing research in paleontology and the incredible insights that can be gained from studying ancient fossil remains. This finding adds to our knowledge of the diversity of life that existed millions of years ago and highlights the importance of preserving and studying these rare and precious artifacts.

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