New family of legless amphibians found in India

doofiegirl BTO-t- BCRA-F ~PWCM~ 2012/02/23 10:29:35
Newly legless amphibians live out their lives in underground burrows, tending their slimy pink young, which emerge from their eggs as miniature adults.
If they sound like something out of a monster movie, they look it too: These creatures, part of a group of animals called caecilians, could pass for enormous earthworms. But they're actually vertebrates with backbones, more like salamanders or frogs.
The discovery of new vertebrates is rare, especially outside of tropical rain forests, but the new caecilians come mostly from human-inhabited areas in northeastern India. They've escaped notice for so long because these burrowers spend their lives underground, out of sight of human eyes.
To discover the new family, researchers led by the University of Delhi's S.D. Biju spent hundreds of hours spread over five years digging in soil at 238 locations in northeast India. They found more than 500 caecilians, and genetic testing showed that the wormlike creatures did not fit into the known family groupings of these animals. In fact, they seem to have split off from their closest relatives in Africa more than 140 million years ago. [See Images of Baby Caecilians]

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/02/21/newly-discovered-le...

Read More: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/02/21/newly-di...

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