Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Prospea holoserisca, A Burrowing Frog From the Late Paleocene of Mongolia

A burrowing frog from the late Paleocene of Mongolia uncovers a deep history of spadefoot toads (Pelobatoidea) in East Asia. 2016. Scientific Reports

Abstract [edit]: Crown-group spadefoot toads (Anura: Pelobatoidea) are the best-known fossorial frog clade to inhabit arid environments, with species utilizing a characteristic bony spade on their foot for burrowing. Here we report a rare fossil of a crown-group spadefoot toad from the late Paleocene of Mongolia.

The late Paleocene age and other information suggestive of a mild climate cast doubt on the conventional assertion that burrowing evolved as an adaptation to aridity in spadefoot toads.

Quantitative biogeographic analysis suggests that Scaphiopodidae, despite originating in North America, dispersed into East Asia via Beringia in the Early Cenozoic.