A bloated purple frog with tiny eyes and a protruding snout, whose ancestors hopped around at the dinosaurs’ feet, has been discovered in the mountains of southern India, scientists say.

The small-headed creature belongs to a new family of frogs that scientists thought had either never existed or disappeared without trace millions of years ago…

“IT IS NOT just a new species. It represents a deep branch in the evolutionary tree of frogs, and as such merits the establishment of a new family,” Franky Bossuyt, an evolutionary biologist at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, said in an interview.

“It is an important discovery because it tells us something about the early evolution of advanced frogs that we would not know otherwise because there are no fossil records from this lineage.”

Bossuyt and his colleague S.D. Biju discovered the frog in the Western Ghats Mountains of India, one of eight biodiversity hotspots in the world that are home to unusual species found nowhere else.


Its closest living relatives are a family frogs called sooglossidae that are found only in the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from India. “You could say it is a living fossil,” said Bossuyt, referring to the new species.

“People have been wondering…

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