New Species of Dinosaur-Era Frog Identified in Brazil

by johnsmith

Paleontologists have identified a new species of the extinct frog genus Baurubatrachus from fossils found in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

Life reconstruction of Baurubatrachus santosdoroi. Image credit: Lautaro R. Blanco.

Baurubatrachus is an extinct genus of prehistoric frogs in the suborder Neobatrachia of the superfamily Hyloidea.

These amphibians lived in what is now Brazil during the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous epoch, between 72 and 66 million years ago.

They coexisted with ancient snails, fishes, turtles, crocodiles, dinosaurs, and other frogs.

“To date, the Baurubatrachus genus was only represented by the holotype of Baurubatrachus pricei, recovered from the Late Cretaceous Serra da Galga Formation, near Peirópolis in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais,” said Dr. Paula Muzzopappa, a paleontologist with the Universidad Maimónides and CONICET, and her colleagues.

The newly-identified species, Baurubatrachus santosdoroi, lived a few million years earlier than Baurubatrachus pricei.

Its fossilized remains were recovered from layers referred to the Adamantina Formation cropping out near Catanduva city in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.

“The remains represent two individuals, one of which bears a set of peculiar characteristics, both cranial and postcranial, that allows us to assign them to the already known genus Baurubatrachus,” the paleontologists said.

“The detailed study of the peculiar anatomy of these specimens provides new osteological features for the genus, such as the presence of a subtympanic foramen, as well as new character states for other traits to be considered in future systematic studies.”

According to the authors, Baurubatrachus santosdoroi is the first formally named frog species from the Cretaceous of São Paulo.

“The discovery of this new species from the Brazilian Cretaceous helps us refine our regional paleontological knowledge and paleoecological interactions,” they said.

“It provides data for future studies on neobatrachians and for a better understanding of the evolution of this group of frogs, which is still very little known.”

The discovery of Baurubatrachus santosdoroi is reported in a paper published in the September 2022 issue of the journal Ameghiniana.


P. Muzzopappa et al. 2022. A New Species of Baurubatrachus (Anura, Neobatrachia) from the Late Cretaceous Adamantina Formation of Brazil Furnishes Evidence on the Diversity of this Bizarre Genus. Ameghiniana 59 (5): 297-316; doi: 10.5710/AMGH.29.07.2022.3505

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