99-Million-year-old Frog Found Encased in Amber

About 99 million years ago in what’s now Myanmar, sap suddenly trapped a tiny juvenile frog with a beetle, perhaps its intended next meal. Unlucky for the frog, but lucky for science.

An extinct species now named Electrorana limoae, it’s one of four fossils that provide the earliest direct evidence of frogs living in wet, tropical forests and are the oldest-known examples of frogs preserved in amber.

“It’s almost unheard of to get a fossil frog from this time period that is small, has preservation of small bones, and is mostly three-dimensional. This is pretty special,” says David Blackburn, study coauthor and the associate curator of herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. “But what’s most exciting about this animal is its context. These frogs were part of a tropical ecosystem that, in some ways, might not have been that different to what we find today—minus the dinosaurs.”

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