A new study published Thursday in the journal Science identified the now extinct amphibian, Albanerpetontids, or Alpies, as the first users of “slingshot” tongues to snatch prey from the air by shrinking and launching at high speeds,media CNET reported. Scientists have discovered a 99 million-year-old group of Albanerpetontids fossils in Myanmar and introduced a new species, Yaksha Perettii, to the world.
Depending on the size of the skull, scientists were able to estimate that the adult animal was about two inches long, excluding its tail. Yet the tongues of these tiny amphibians are like deadly, fast-moving fists.
Edward Stanley, co-author of the study and director of the Digital Discovery and Communication Laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said: “This discovery adds a super cool puzzle to the puzzle of this unknown group of strange little animals. Knowing that they have these spbally tongues gives us a whole new perspective on the whole series. “
The discovery of the fossils was almost thought to be insimiguous, with a tongue bone that gave the fossils a chromatin classification until Susan Evans, a professor of vertebrate morphology and palaeontology at University College London, recognized the characteristics of Albanerpetontids – the unusual jaw and neck joints and forward-looking eyes.
While the discovery of an amphibian with a “slingshot” tongue may sound like helping scientists understand the lineage of amphibians such as frogs and dragonflies, Evans cautions that this may not be the case. “Theoretically, amphibians could provide us with clues as to what the ancestors of modern amphibians looked like, ” she said. “Unfortunately, they are so special and so strange that they don’t help us very much.”