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Simon Pierre Barrette and José Grau de Puerto Montt/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0); Mats Wedin/Swedish Museum of Natural History

‘Helmeted frog’ fossils unearthed in Antarctica

Researchers have recovered the first fossil evidence of an amphibian from Antarctica, suggesting the area may once have hosted dense, temperate forests similar to those in modern-day South America. The small bits of skull and hip bone, fossilized over the past 40 million years on Seymour Island, belong to a group of “helmeted frogs” that persist in remote Patagonian forests today, The New York Times reports. The expedition was part of a joint fossil-finding endeavor where researchers also unearthed evidence of ancient water lilies, sharks, and other fish that typically thrive in a warmer climate (as seen in this artist’s representation). Their results, published today in Scientific Reports, help flesh out the changes that occurred in the Eocene as the great supercontinent of Gondwana broke apart to form modern-day Australia, South America, Africa, India, and Antarctica.

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