Triadobatrachus is arguably the earliest known frog (some scientists
might consider it to be frog-like, rather than a frog, and an earlier
animal, apparently intermediate between frogs and salamanders,
known as Gerobatrachus
is also known). Triadobatrachus lived
during the early Triassic
period in what is today Madagascar.
Triadobratrachus was about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. It differed
from modern frogs in a number of ways, most noteably by having 14
vertebrae (modern frogs have between 4 and 9 vertebrae) - including
6 vertebrae which formed a short tail that the animal retained into
adulthood. Triadobratrachus probably swam by kicking its powerful hind
legs, but is thought to have been incapable of jumping. On the other hand,
the animal's skull was similar to that of modern frogs.
Triadobratrachus is thought to have an ancestor, or a close-relative of
an ancestor of subsequent modern frogs.
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