Surfing The Wierd

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gigantic Prehistoric Devil Frog

Ancient "devil frog" may have eaten baby dinosaurs

By Will Dunham Mon Feb 18, 5:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was the biggest, baddest, meanest froggy ever to have hopped on Earth.

Scientists on Monday announced the discovery in northwestern Madagascar of a bulky amphibian dubbed the "devil frog" that lived 65 million to 70 million years ago and was so nasty it may have eaten newborn dinosaurs.

This brute was larger than any frog living today and may be the biggest frog ever to have existed, according to paleontologist David Krause of Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, one of the scientists who found the remains.

Its name, Beelzebufo ampinga, came from Beelzebub, the Greek for devil, and bufo -- Latin for toad. Ampinga means "shield," named for an armor-like part of its anatomy.

Beelzebufo (pronounced bee-el-zeh-BOOF-oh) was 16 inches

long and weighed an estimated 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

It was powerfully built and possessed a very wide mouth and powerful jaws. It probably didn't dine daintily.

"It's not outside the realm of possibility that Beelzebufo took down lizards and mammals and smaller frogs, and even -- considering its size -- possibly hatchling dinosaurs," Krause said in a telephone interview.

"It would have been quite mean," added paleontologist Susan Evans of University College London, another of the scientists.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even though it lived far away, Beelzebufo appears to be closely related to a group of frogs that live today in South America, the scientists said. They are nicknamed "Pac-Man" frogs due to their huge mouths. Some have little horns on their heads, and the scientists think Beelzebufo also may have had horns -- a fitting touch for the "devil frog."

Beelzebufo was bigger than any of its South American kin or any other living frog -- "as if it was on steroids," Krause said. The largest one today is the goliath frog of West Africa, up to 12.5 inches long and 7.2 pounds (3.3 kg).

The presence of Beelzebufo in Madagascar and its modern relatives in South America is the latest sign a long-lost land bridge once may have linked Madagascar to Antarctica -- much warmer then -- and South America, the scientists said.

That would have let animals move overland among those land masses. Fossils have been found of other animals in Madagascar from Beelzebufo's time similar to South American ones.


The first frogs appeared about 180 million years ago, and their basic body plan has remained unchanged. Beelzebufo lived during the Cretaceous Period at the end of the age of dinosaurs, which went extinct along with many other types of animals 65 million years ago when a huge space rock clobbered Earth.

Beelzebufo did not live an aquatic lifestyle, hopping among lily pads, the scientists said. Instead, it lived in a semi-arid environment and may have hunted like its modern-day relatives, which camouflage themselves and jump out at prey.

Its first fragmentary fossils were found in 1993, and the scientists have since assembled enough fragments to piece its remains together like a jigsaw puzzle, Krause said.

While it was the king of frogs, Beelzebufo is not the largest amphibian ever to have lived. Many reached truly astounding dimensions, such as the crocodile-like Prionosuchus that grew to an estimated 30 feet during the Permian Period, which ended about 250 million years ago.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

This undated handout artist rendering provided by Dan Klores Communications shows a Beelzebufo ampinga facing off against the largest known living Malagasy frog, Mantydactylus ampinga. A full -length pencil provide size perspective. A frog the size of a bowling ball, with heavy armor and teeth, lived among dinosaurs millions of years ago — intimidating enough that scientists who unearthed its fossils dubbed the beast Beelzebufo, or Devil Toad.  (AP Photo/Illustration by Luci Betti-Nash, Dan Klores Communications) AP Photo: This undated handout artist rendering provided by Dan Klores Communications shows a Beelzebufo ampinga facing... >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Pac Man Frog of Argentina

Argentine horned frog

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Argentine horned frog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Leptodactylidae
Genus: Ceratophrys
Species: C. ornata
Binomial name
Ceratophrys ornata Bell, 1843

The Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata), also known as the Argentine wide-mouthed Frog or Pacman frog, is the most common species of Horned Frog, from the rain forests of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. A voracious eater, it will attempt to swallow anything that moves close to its wide mouth, such as insects, small birds, lizards, frogs and mammals.

The Argentine Horned frog has such a big appetite that it has been found dead in the wild, asphyxiated by its own meal.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. Goliath Frogs of Africa
Goliath Frog Conraua goliath
Threats habitat loss through deforestation, dam building, private collectors STATUS: IUCN -- VULNERABLE

SIZE: Head and Body Length: Up to 12.5 inches (32 cm)

WEIGHT 7.2 pounds


Mysterious Giant The goliath is the world's largest frog; its body can be more than a foot long, and its entire length, back legs extended, is often more than two and a half feet. They have been known to weigh more than seven pounds. Despite their enormous size as adults, eggs and tadpoles of goliath frogs are about the same size as those of other frogs. Why it becomes a giant, nobody knows
Goliath frog by baby deer Photobucket



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