A group of researchers has found ancient frogs fossilized in amber, making these 100 million-year-old fossils the oldest evidence of frogs in tropical rainforests. The researchers hope that this discovery will reveal more about how amphibians evolved and moved to their modern habitats.
Frogs first moved to tropical forests between 100 million and 200 million years ago, and today that’s where almost a third of all frogs are found. But it’s difficult for scientists to piece together exactly what these forest environments look like because the frogs are so small and tropical forests aren’t great environments for fossil-making.
This new discovery of frogs frozen in amber along with plants, insects, and other organisms is an incredibly important resource to learn more about the plants and animals living in these forests. Prior to this fossil discovery, the oldest known fossilized frog was only 25 million years old, illustrating the difficulty of learning about these animals’ history.
These fossils revealed that ancient frogs look a lot like modern frogs, showing that frogs haven’t changed much over the last 100 million years. Today, frogs-along with many amphibian species are dying at an alarming rate. Only time will tell if the same tricks that got them through the past 100 million years can get them through today’s changing climates and ecosystems as well. (Popular Mechanics)