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Real-life 'Kermit the Frog' proto-amphibian lived 270 million years ago

By T.K. Randall
March 24, 2024 · Comment icon 1 comment
Kermit fossil.
Image Credit: [left] Brittany M. Hance, Smithsonian/Cal So. [right] CC BY-SA 2.0 Eva Rinaldi
A newly identified ancestor of modern day frogs has been named after Jim Henson's iconic green Muppet.
It's not easy being green - but it was probably even harder trying to eke out an existence over 200 million years ago for this newly described species of proto-amphibian.

Discovered over 40 years ago, the fossil - which sports unusual oval-shaped eye sockets - was unearthed in a fossil-rich outcrop in Texas known as the Red Beds by curator and paleontologist Nicholas Hotton III.

For decades, the fossil had sat abandoned in a collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History until it was finally rediscovered and identified.
The researchers immediately noted that the fossil's "cartoonishly wide-eyed face" looked a bit like a Muppet, prompting them to name the species Kermitops gratus after Kermit the Frog.

"Using the name Kermit has significant implications for how we can bridge the science that is done by paleontologists in museums to the general public," said lead study author Calvin So.

"Because this animal is a distant relative of today's amphibians, and Kermit is a modern-day amphibian icon, it was the perfect name for it."

"What really jumped out to us was how [the fossil looked] bug-eyed, and due to slight crushing during the preservation it gave it kind of like a lopsided, crooked smile, and it really evoked Kermit's smile."

Source: Live Science | Comments (1)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Rossid Radio 19 days ago
I’m still looking at the fossil…. How did they get Kermit from that?

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