A tiny tree frog preserved in amber is believed to have lived about 25 million years ago, a Mexican researcher says. The chunk of amber containing the centimetre-long frog was uncovered by a miner in southern Chiapas state in 2005 and 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. Gerardo Carbot, the biologist with the Chiapas Natural History and Ecology Institute who announced the discovery on Wednesday, 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 whether 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.