A tiny frog unknown to science for millions of years has been discovered.
Around the size of a thumb, the starry dwarf frog is so called because of the star-like pattern on its body.
The frog has never been studied by scientists before and is the sole survivor of an ancient line of frogs that existed millions of years ago.
The starry dwarf frog, which is dark brown with a bright orange underbelly and covered with pale blue dots, was discovered on a remote mountain range in India.
Named Astrobatrachus kurichiyana in recognition of its star-like markings and the region it was found in, it is a camouflage expert that hides in leaves on the floor.
Dr David Blackburn, from the Florida Museum of Natural History and a member of the team behind the discovery, said: This is an oddball frog, it has no close sister species for maybe tens of millions of years.
The amphibian is from a previously unknown frog sub-family, whose nearest relatives belonged to a group of nearly 30 species native to India and Sri Lanka which existed tens of millions of years ago.
Scientists almost overlooked the starry dwarf frog when they stumbled across it during a series of expeditions to the Western Ghats, a 1,000 mile-long mountain range along India’s south-western coast.
The frog was photographed along with 30 different species of frogs, lizards and snakes in one evening.
The next morning expedition leader Dr Seenapuram Vijayakumar, from George Washington University in America found anther starry dwarf frog.
I picked it up and said, ‘hey, this is the same guy I photographed in the night, he said.
As a greedy researcher, I kept it, but at that point in time, it wasn’t too exciting for me.
I didn’t realise it would become so interesting.
Years later, researchers turned their attention to it and realised how important their discovery was and published their findings in the journal PeerJ.
Its life cycle, sound of its call and population is still unknown.
(c) Sky News 2019: Starry dwarf frog unknown for millions of years found