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Sunday, 9 July 2017
Why frogs thrived after the dinosaurs were wiped out
Frogs around the world should be grateful for the forces that wiped out dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
That's according to new research from scientists in the United States and China that suggests whatever caused the mass extinction paved the way for the proliferation of frogs.
While frogs have been around for more than 200 million years, new research suggests that three main modern frog lineages — about 88 per cent of the living species of frogs — began to thrive shortly after the extinction event that signalled the end of all non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period.
While we know that about 80 per cent of the world's species were killed off in the mass extinction, what's not known is whether that extended to frogs, as there are few fossilized remains that have been found.
However, the researchers of this new study say that whether or not many frog species became extinct, the event gave rise to the frogs we know today.
"Maybe there was some extinction that happened there," says David Blackburn, co-author of the paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
"At the very least, what happened afterwards was that it seems like there must have been rapid diversification, where we had many new lineages evolve," said Blackburn, who is also associate curator of amphibians and reptiles at the Florida Museum of Natural History.-read more
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