Frog species boomed when the dinosaurs croaked
Most frog species are much younger than scientists previously thought, according to a new study.
Frogs compose about 90% of living amphibian species.
Previously scientists thought that most species of frog diverged during the Mesozoic period, but new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that they may have gotten their big break when the dinosaurs went extinct.
The researchers used a molecular dataset that included “88-kb characters from 95 nuclear genes of 156 frog species, in conjunction with 20 fossil-based calibrations,” to come up with the most well supported frog evolutionary family tree they could.
As a result of this they noted that three frog clades, which account for about 88% of known frog species, actually diverged at about the same time the dinosaurs went extinct.
This includes all of the tree frogs, which the scientists say suggests that as the dinosaurs died off it left new niches for the frogs to move into.
Read the full research at PNAS.