February 15, 2007
Scientist: Frog Could Be 25M Years Old
MEXICO CITY (AP) - A Mexican researcher announced the rare find of a tiny tree frog completely preserved in amber on Wednesday that he estimates lived about 25 million years ago.
The chunk of amber containing the 0.4-inch frog was uncovered by a miner in southern Chiapas states in 2005 and was bought by a private collector, who lent it to scientists for study.Only a few preserved frogs have been found in chunks of amber - a stone formed by ancient tree sap - mostly in the Dominican Republic. Like those, the frog found in Chiapas was of the genus Craugastor, whose relatives still inhabit the region.
Biologist Gerardo Carbot of the Chiapas Natural History and Ecology Institute, who announced the discovery, said it was the first such frog found in amber in Mexico.
Carbot said he would like to extract a sample from the frog's remains to see if they contain well-preserved DNA, in order to identify the frog's species.
However, he expressed doubt that the stone's owner would allow researchers to drill a small hole into the chunk of amber. "I don't think he will allow it, because it's a very rare, unique piece," said Carbot.