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03. Scott Hocknull - Dinosaur Man

Mt Etna FROGS AND LIZARDS

The fossilised remains of Etnabatrachus maximus were found in these deposits. This animal was about the size of a large cane toad and is now totally extinct. It is the largest frog species ever to be found in Australia. Even frogs had Pleistocene megafauna!

Images of microhylid, Nyctimystes, Crinia, and Neobatrachus by Jeff Wright Images of microhylid, Nyctimystes, Crinia, and Neobatrachus by Jeff Wright, © Queensland Museum; Kyarranus, © Queensland Museum; Cyclorana by indole, Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA.

Frogs are exceptionally abundant and diverse in deposits older than 280,000 years ago. The microhylid frog species indicate permanent water bodies during that time. These species are typically found in rainforests.

After 280,000 years ago, the species change and there are fewer of them. New species appeared that were more arid-adapted. Examples include:

  • Cyclorana, a water-holding frog
  • Neobatrachus, a burrowing ground frog.
Images  of Varanus komodoensis by P. Fly Images of Varanus komodoensis by P. Fly, Creative Commons licence BY-SA; Tympanocryptis cephalus, © Queensland Museum; Hypsilurus boydii by Jeff Wright, © Queensland Museum; Egernia major by wigzac, Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA.; Pogona vitticeps by Joachim S. Muller, Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA.

Lizard species that existed in the rainforest include a goanna that was as large as a Komodo dragon. Also found were species still found in rainforests today, like the angle-headed dragon, Hypsilurus.
Most of these lizards were replaced by arid-adapted forms. Examples include:

  • Tympanocryptis; Pogona (‘dwarf’ bearded dragon)
  • Chlamydosaurus kingii (frill-necked lizard).