Beelzebufo ampinga, an ancient frog also known as the "devil frog," had a strong-enough jaw to include small dinosaurs and crocodiles in its diet, according to a new study.
The chilling revelation came from a study that analyzed the biting power of South American horned frogs, which are the closest living descendants of Beelzebufo.
Beelzebufo Ampinga: The Devil Frog
The frogs of today do not exactly inspire horror stories, but a certain species of horned frogs in South America, the Ceratophrys cranwelli, are very aggressive and can eat animals that are the same size as they are.
Researchers thought that by using the C. cranwelli as their model, they can estimate the biting power of the extinct Beelzebufo, which used to live in Madagascar about 65 million to 70 million years ago.
In a paper that was published in the Scientific Reports, the researchers used contraptions known as bite force sensors on small horned frogs. For frogs with heads that measure 2 inches wide, they can bite down with a force of 30 Newtons, or about 6.6 pounds. Using a scaling model, the researchers estimated that the larger horned frogs in South America with head widths of about 5 inches would have a bite force of about 500 Newtons, which they claim would feel similar to balancing 50 liters of water on your fingertip.
Following the scaling model, the researchers predicted that the biting power of Beelzebufo would be about 2,200 Newtons, which can be compared to the strength in the jaws of modern predators such as tigers and wolves. In comparison, the average force of a human bite measured at the molars is only around one-third of that figure.
With such force in each bite, the researchers guessed that the larger devil frogs would have been able to eat small dinosaurs and crocodiles when it used to roam the Earth.
The Devil Frog: Thankfully Extinct
Watching the Beelzebufo in person as it feasts on a small dinosaur or crocodile would have been amazing but also terrifying, and most of us can breathe a sigh of relief that the devil frog is extinct.
Latest news on the creatures focused on frog diversification after the extinction of dinosaurs, frog skin mucus possibly helping to kill flu virus strains, and the first fluorescent frogs that were discovered in the Amazon basin. All these reports are very much tame compared to what the Beelzebufo would be able to do if it lived during these times.