Exceedingly Rare Early Cretaceous Fossil Frog

Name: Chordata: Vertebrata: Amphibia; Anura; Discoglossidae: Callobatrachus sanyanensis

Geological Time: Lower Cretaceous

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Frog: 65 mm long (snout-vent length) Foreleg: 47 mm Hindleg: 97 mm Matrix: 115 mm X 95 mm

Fossil Site: Yixian Formation, Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, China

Description: This plaque holds a very rare fossil: a frog of the Family Discoglossidae, or disk-tongued frogs. The family derives its name from its fixed disk-like tongue. There are two extant genera known from Europe, Noth Africa, the Middle East, and Asia: Alytes (midwife toads) and Discoglossa, a frog that resembles the Ranidae (common frogs). Callobatrachus is the oldest known Discoglossid, and was very briefly described in 1999. A complete description was done in 2001 (See Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology 21 (3) 460-476).

Frogs of any age are most rare specimens; one from the Cretaceous, so far back in geological time in their history, is almost unheard of. This fine specimen shows most all of the bones in articulation. The left radioulna is visible as it proceeds under the upper body. I do not know if any carpals or phalanges are present to the manus. The matrix has been stabilized to prevent loss of any of the specimen, one which is worthy of any museum-quality collection.

click fossil pictures to enlarge

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