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Made in India: 60-Million-Year-Old 'Lost' Frog Species Discovered in Western Ghats

The frog, which measures between 2cm to 3cm in length, has been named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana by the scientists, who also gave the amphibian a less mouthy nickname: the “starry dwarf frog.”

Shantanu David | News18.com

Updated:March 13, 2019, 12:46 PM IST
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Made in India: 60-Million-Year-Old 'Lost' Frog Species Discovered in Western Ghats
The frog, which measures between 2cm to 3cm in length, has been named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana by the scientists, who also gave the amphibian a less mouthy nickname: the “starry dwarf frog.”
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Without getting political, we can honestly say this particular discovery was made in India. And yes, it is saffron.

An orange-bellied frog with a brown back that is covered in tiny spots has been discovered in the southern range of the Deccan plateau, surprising scientists. After coming across a few specimens in the middle of the night during an expedition in the Western Ghats, the researchers, part of a joint US-India team, determined that they had in fact found a species thought to be lost millions of years ago.

The frog, which measures between 2cm to 3cm in length, has been named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana by the scientists, who also gave the amphibian a less mouthy nickname: the “starry dwarf frog.” The starry sobriquet comes from the spots on its back, the pattern of which resembles a starry sky.

A research paper, published in journal PeerJ, said its ancestors branched off on the evolutionary tree from other members of the same frog family tens of millions of years ago.

Dr Alex Pyron, from George Washington University and one of the authors of the study was quoted by The Guardian, saying, “Astrobatrachus is from the Greek for star frog, and so we named it after the spots that sort of look like stars, and kurichiyana is the name of the local peoples in this area where it was found.”

The research team said that many other frogs in the region also boast an ancient lineage. This is because the biodiversity of the Western Ghats is due to a combination of factors, including the wide variety of species present in India when its landmass broke away from other parts of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, as well as the wide range of habitats provided by the nation's mountain ranges.

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