The asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago spelled disaster for the dinosaurs. But scientists say they’ve found one silver lining to the mass extinction — turns out, it was really good for frogs. The resilient animals date back some 200 million years. And in the aftermath of the extinction event, they survived and thrived, taking advantage of an ecological vacuum other animals left behind. About 9 in 10 frog species today evolved from three frog lineages that survived the event, which occurred at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods, according to research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
What this research shows, Wake says, is that frogs have the proven ability to “[take] advantage of opportunities — in this case [an] ecological vacuum that existed following the mass extinction.”