A golf-ball sized tree frog, believed to be extinct for more than a century, has been rediscovered in the jungles of north-eastern India by a team of scientists, led by Indian biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju, reported BBC News on their article on Thursday.
The tree frog reportedly inhabits tree holes that are as high as 19 feet from the ground, which could explain how they have been unseen for more than 130 years. Other scientists suggested that their elusiveness may have been due to the fact that very few scientists have ventured into the remote region to conduct their studies.
"We heard a full musical orchestra coming from the tree tops," recalled Biju. "It was magical. Of course we had to investigate."
According to CNN on Friday, the tree frog was first discovered in 1876 in Darjeeling, northern India by British naturalist T.C. Jerdon, who reportedly collected a sample and preserved it to be placed in a British museum.
Biju and his team also brought back the tree frogs to laboratories in India in order to further study their specie. They have found that these frogs have evolved from their 1870's ancestors, and now have a new set of genes.
One of its evolutionary feature was observed while a mother was providing prenatal care to her tadpoles.
National Geographic noted on Tuesday that a mother frog sticks its eggs inside the tree holes, which contain a pool of water. Once the eggs hatch, tadpoles fall into the water, where the mother feeds them unfertilized eggs until they grow to become froglets.
These tadpoles do not have teeth so they consume eggs by directly swallowing it, while most of the tadpoles of other frog species consume plant material.
"Frogs in this genus have specific microhabitat requirements and any small alteration can push frogs to extinction," Biju warned.
There are 400 types of tree frogs in the world, classified into 17 genera. After their discovery, Biju added an 18th genera, which he named Frankixalus jerdonii.