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Photos: The New Amphibian Tree of Life

Scientists revise outdated taxonomy

(Image credit: Credit: Taran Grant, AMNH)

The study shows that tree frogs, such as Phyllomedusa hypochondrialis, are relatively primitive compared with other amphibian groups.

Scientists revise outdated taxonomy

(Image credit: Credit: Taran Grant, AMNH)

Parental care (shown here in a father of Phylobates bicolor carrying his tadpole on his back) also occurs near the base of the amphibian tree, a finding that was not necessarily anticipated.

Scientists revise outdated taxonomy

(Image credit: Credit: Taran Grant, AMNH)

Rain frogs, such as Eleutherodactylus sp., are a large group of some 800 species. These frogs skip the tadpole stage. The new results suggest this is an ancient group with fewer species than its closest relative, and that the lack of a tadpole stage prevented more species from evolving.

Scientists revise outdated taxonomy

(Image credit: Credit: Taran Grant, AMNH)

This study is one of the first large-scale initiatives to understand the diversity of life on Earth, and will help efforts to conserve all frogs, including Eleutherodactylus elegans (shown).