Meet Kermitops Gratus: The Fascinating Ancient Amphibian Named After Our Beloved Muppets Character

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

A newly discovered ancient amphibian ancestor has been named after the beloved Muppets character, Kermit the Frog. The creature, named 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. The fossil was initially found in Texas by paleontologist Nicholas Hotton III and rediscovered in 2021 by postdoctoral paleontologist Arjan Mann.

The creature is classified as a temnospondyl, a precursor to modern amphibians that existed between the Carboniferous and Triassic periods. The distinctive wide face and eyes of Kermitops gratus are reminiscent of the Muppets character. Despite some damage to the palate and brain case, the fossil displays remarkably preserved features, including tiny palpebral ossicles in the eyelids.

Calvin So, a doctoral student at George Washington University and lead author of the study, believes that naming the creature Kermit helps bridge the gap between scientific research and public interest in paleontology. This unique choice of name highlights the significance of sharing scientific discoveries with a wider audience.

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