Scientists in Madagascar recently discovered the remains of a giant prehistoric frog, a relative of today’s horned toads, which blew away the previous record for the largest known frog, Bennicus Bleimanicus. Dubbed Beelzebufo, meaning “frog from hell,” the Devil Frog had important differences from today’s frogs. To begin with, it was freakin huge. Susan Evans, a researcher from the University College of London, explained that if it was anything like its closest living forebears, “it would have been quite mean.” Considering the fact that it was “the size of a slightly squashed beach-ball, with short legs and a big mouth,” it was probably a formidable predator for its time. Explained David Krause, a researcher from Stony Brook University in NY, “It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Beelzebufo took down lizards and mammals and smaller frogs, and even — considering its size — possibly hatchling dinosaurs.”
The Devil Frog was a land dwelling amphibian that probably spent most of its time laying in wait, trying to convince itself it really was just “big boned.”
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In addition to its outstanding size and premeditatedly sensationalistic name, the Devil Frog is also notable for lending weight to a controversial theory of plate tectonics. Because its closest living kin, nicknamed the Pac-Man frog for its enormous mouth, lives in South America, it suggests that Madagascar and South America were once linked via a long lost land bridge from Madagascar to Antarctica. Blasphemy! Penguins and lemurs living side-by-side in harmony? Sounds like a Pixar pipedream.
Special thanks to NK and Liz Carter for bringing this to our attention.