Friday, November 10, 2017

Extinct Big-Mouthed Frogs May Have Dined on Dinos

A Cranwell's horned frog (Ceratophrys cranwelli) chomps down on a device that measures bite force.

Once the researchers knew the frogs' bite force, they could scale that measurement up by adjusting parameters such as the frog's head and body size and estimating the accompanying changes in muscle size, the study said. Next to the small "Pac-Man" frogs, the extinct devil frog was gargantuan, with a body measuring about 16 inches (41 cm) long and a head reaching about 6 inches (15 cm) in width.

The study's calculations predicted that at that size, the devil frog's bite would have been as powerful as that of a wolf or of an adult female lion or tiger. That certainly would make Beelzebufo capable of taking down small crocodiles or dinosaurs that shared its habitat — especially if its hunting habits were similar to the aggressive and tenacious chomp of the "Pac-Man" frogs, the researchers explained.

"Horned frogs have quite an impressive bite, and they tend not to let go," the study's lead author, A. Kristopher Lappin, a professor of biological sciences at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, said in a statement.

Lappin noted that he spoke "from experience," though he did not provide details as to what exactly that experience was.

By comparison, the bite of the much larger — and possibly dinosaur-consuming — devil frog would have been "remarkable," Lappin said in the statement. "Definitely not something I would want to experience firsthand."