May 24, 2024 1:22 am
Ancient Amphibian Ancestor Named After Iconic Muppet Kermit

In Texas, paleontologist Nicholas Hotton III discovered a newly-discovered amphibian ancestor that was later named Kermitops gratus after the popular Muppet character Kermit the Frog. This proto-amphibian lived 270 million years ago and had a skull that was just over an inch long. The well-preserved fossil features oval eye sockets and a cartoonishly wide face and eyes that are reminiscent of the famous puppet.

Postdoctoral paleontologist Arjan Mann rediscovered Hotton’s skull in 2021 and was impressed by its almost complete preservation. Despite some damage to the palate and braincase, the skull still showed intricate details like the arrangement of palpebral ossicles, the tiny bones in an animal’s eyelids. This attention to detail in the fossil adds to its uniqueness and gives researchers a glimpse into the ancient amphibian’s anatomy.

Calvin So, a doctoral student at George Washington University and the lead author on the study, highlighted the significance of using the name Kermit for the fossil. He noted that it could help bridge the gap between science and general public, making it more accessible and engaging for everyone. The discovery of Kermitops gratus sheds light on the evolution of amphibians and highlights interesting features of ancient creatures like Kermit, who has become an iconic figure among many people worldwide.

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