‘N.bhupathi’, a frog with the face of a pig

Frogs are not exactly the cultural exemplars of good looks, as the famous fairy tale, The Frog Prince. But the newly discovered Nasikabatrachus bhupathi could set the bar a couple of notches lower or higher depending on your aesthetic sensibility. According to a paper published last month in Alytes, a scientific journal devoted to the study of frogs and amphibians, Indian scientists have discovered a new species of frog that has a snout-shaped nose, just like a pig’s, evoking comparisons with the Purple frog that took the world by storm when it was first discovered in 2003.

The discovery is significant as it constitutes additional evidence in favour of the theory of continental drift. The Purple frog is an inhabitant of Seychelles, and the discovery of Bhupathy’s purple frog in India suggests that the Indian subcontinent was part of the ancient landmass of Gondwana before splitting from Seychelles 65 million years ago.

The soiled-dwelling species, discovered by scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, has been named after the Indian herpetologist S. Bhupathy, who died in a freak accident in 2014. Bhupathy’s purple frog inhabits the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, near the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.

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