|Chinese frog discovery sheds light on
ABC Online 20/112001
Chinese scientists have discovered Asia's oldest frog fossils, some dating as far back as
125 million years ago, which they believe could help explain the evolution of amphibians.
Wang Yan, associate research fellow in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and
Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), says the fossils have been
found in the north-eastern province of Liaoning.
"Hundreds of Cretaceous amphibian fossils have been unearthed from the famous
dinosaur fossil beds at Sihetun in the western part of Liaoning province since 2000,"
Mr Wang said.
"Among them there is a rare fossilized frog dating back to 125 million years
Mr Wang says the well-preserved specimen, which has been named "Sanyanlichan",
is the earliest and "sole definite discoglossid fossil in Asia, and the second fully
articulated specimen of the Mesozoic age".
He says its most prominent characteristic is its nine presacral vertebra, one more than
any extant frogs.
Mr Wang says this could provide important evidence in the study of amphibian evolution.
He says it is "of remarkable significance because the animal is a linkage between
aquatic and terrestrial life forms, representing a great success in evolution."