Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Named after a prehistoric amphibian ancestor, Kermit the Frog

270 million years ago in Texas, one crawled across the rain-soaked ground and feasted on fast-moving insects. The other endeared himself to millions as a banjo-playing roving newscaster and Miss Biggie's reluctant beau known as Kermit the Frog.

Now, they share a name.

On Thursday, scientists announced that they named a newly identified ancient ancestor of modern amphibians Kermitops gratus after Kermit the Frog.

Although it couldn't sing or deliver messages about the “Rainbow Connection,” species like the salamander seemed to bear a striking resemblance to the beloved Muppet, Calvin Cho, Ph.D. student in the biological sciences at George Washington University, helped name it.

A combination of bones in the eye socket gave it a “bug-eyed look” like Kermit's, and its slightly crushed, three-centimeter-long fossilized skull appeared to have “a loose smile,” reminiscent of Kermit's shy grin, Mx. Said thus.

“We thought Kermit was laughing at us,” said Mx. So, the lead author of the paper describing the new species published Thursday Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The name combines “Kermit” and the Greek suffix “-ops,” meaning face.

The fossil skull was discovered in 1984 near Kemp Lake, Texas, Mx. Said thus. It remained in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington until 2021, when one of the Mx. Chow's co-authors, Arjan Mann, and a few other paleontologists noticed it and recognized that it might be a new species, Mx. Said thus.

Mx. So the snout is longer than the back of its skull, which is very different from other types of fossil amphibians. This shape may have made the species particularly adept at catching fast-moving insects for food, Mx. Said thus.

“This increases our knowledge of amphibian diversity at that time,” they said. And the name, Mx. Therefore, people can be interested in prehistoric creatures other than dinosaurs.

“I wanted to draw attention and change the way people interact with science and fossils,” Mx. Said thus. “It would be great to have more people join the investigation into the origin of the waterfall, because it's a part of the tree of life that hasn't been studied very well.”

This species is only the latest scientific discovery to emerge from obscurity with a popular name.

Last year, scientists at a German research institute discovered that certain bacterial compounds kill fungus, naming them keenomycins after actor Keanu Reeves, who starred in the thriller franchise “John Wick.”

Scientists have named insects after Arnold Schwarzenegger and RuPaul, while a species of dinosaur has been named Dracorex Hogwartsia, or Dragon King of Hogwarts, after the Harry Potter series of Hogwarts school by J.K. Rowling, According to Natural History Museum, London.

The Muppets also served as inspiration. A trilobite named after the grouchy duo Stadler and Waldorfand A A spider that lives in a pipe Named after Gonzo, the museum said.

Although Mx. So excited about the new species, they said they weren't always a big fan of the Muppets. “Personally,” said Mx So, “I thought some of the Muppets were a little scary.”

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