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A newly discovered amphibian ancestor has been named Kermitops gratus, after the famous Muppet character Kermit the Frog. This proto-amphibian lived 270 million years ago and had a skull that was just over an inch long. It was found in Texas by paleontologist Nicholas Hotton III and later identified as a temnospondyl, a type of predecessor to modern amphibians that existed for over 200 million years.

Recently, postdoctoral paleontologist Arjan Mann rediscovered Hotton’s skull in 2021 and was impressed by its almost complete preservation. Despite some damage to the palate and braincase, the skull still showed intricate details like the arrangement of palpebral ossicles, the tiny bones in an animal’s eyelids. This attention to detail in the fossil adds to its uniqueness and gives researchers a glimpse into the ancient amphibian’s anatomy.

Calvin So, a doctoral student at George Washington University and the lead author on the study, highlighted the significance of using the name Kermit for the fossil. He noted that it could help bridge the gap between the science of paleontology and the general public, making it more accessible and engaging for everyone. This discovery of Kermitops gratus sheds light on the evolution of amphibians and the interesting features of ancient creatures like the one named after

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