The frogmander story’s been out for more than a week and well chronicled on scores of blogs and other Web sites. Here’s the basic story. But this poster, on the Viva La Evolution! blog, is so original I thought it was worth pointing you to this particular post.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The discovery of a “frogamander,” a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.
Modern amphibians — frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians — have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.
The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.
“It’s a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins,” said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.
“It’s a perfect little frogamander,” he said.
Gerobatrachus has a mixture of frog and salamander features, with fused ankle bones as seen only in salamanders, a wide, frog-like skull, and a backbone that resembles a mix of the two.