Ancient Amphibian Ancestor Named After Iconic Muppet: Meet Kermit the Proto-Frog
Science

Kermitops gratus: A New Species of Ancient Amphibian Named After the Iconic Muppet Character

Paleontologists have uncovered a new species of ancient amphibian that has been named after the beloved Muppets character, Kermit the Frog. The creature, known as Kermitops gratus, lived 270 million years ago and had a skull the size of the palm of your hand. The fossilized bone, just over an inch long, has well-preserved oval eye sockets.

Kermitops gratus is classified as a temnospondyl, a precursor to modern amphibians that existed between the Carboniferous and Triassic periods. Researchers were drawn to this creature due to its distinctive wide face and eyes, reminiscent of Kermit’s iconic appearance. Despite some damage to the palate and brain case, the fossil displays remarkably preserved features, including tiny palpebral ossicles in the eyelids.

The decision to name this ancient amphibian after Kermit has been praised for its ability to connect scientific research with public interest in paleontology. Calvin So, a doctoral student at George Washington University and lead author of the study, believes that naming it Kermit helps bridge the gap between science and popular culture. This unique choice of name highlights the importance of sharing scientific discoveries with a wider audience.

Paleontologist Arjan Mann rediscovered the fossil in 2021 while working on his postdoctoral research at Texas Tech University. He was thrilled to share this discovery with his colleagues and believes that naming it after such an iconic character will help make paleontology more accessible to people who might not otherwise be interested in it.

In conclusion, Kermitops gratus is a remarkable find for paleontologists who are always looking for new ways to connect their work with the general public. By naming this ancient amphibian after Kermit, researchers hope to inspire curiosity about science and encourage people to explore more about our planet’s past.

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