Named By: Khun - 1962.
Classification: Chordata, Amphibia, Protobatrachidae.
Species: T. massinotiis (type).
Size: Madagascar - Middle Sakamena Formation.
Known locations: South Africa.
Time period: Induan of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Almost complete individual.
is one of the earliest frogs to appear in the fossil record. So
primitive is Triadobatrachus that this frog has
vertebrae, fourteen in total when compared to a range of four to nine
vertebrae in modern frogs. A short tail was also retained in
adulthood. Triadobatrachus has been found in
association with marine
(salt water) deposits, though the presence of a large number of
terrestrial plants were also found near to the Triadobatrachus
holotype. These plants indicate that like many modern frogs,
Triadobatrachus would leave the water to roam about
on land, quite
possibly to hunt invertebrates as well as possibly seek out new
bodies of water.
There has been a lot of speculation concerning Triadobatrachus and if it were capable of jumping like modern frogs can. Most of this study has focused upon examining the rear legs, and usually the answer is that although the rear legs were developed well enough for swimming and walking, they were incapable of providing a jumping ability that modern frogs are known to have. However a 2012 study by Sigurdsen, Green and Bishop focused more upon the front legs, and found that these were actually quite similar to the fore leg structures of modern frogs. This means Triadobatrachus would have still been capable of landing, and that in actuality may well have been capable of hopping and jumping very short distances, though still not to the same distances that modern frogs can.
- Une forme ancestrale des amphibiens anoures dans le Trias inférieur de Madagascar. - Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des Sciences 202: 1607–1608.- J. Piveteau - 1936.
- Origine et évolution morphologique des amphibiens anoures. - Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des Sciences 203: 1084–1086. - J. Piveteau - 1936.
- Redescription of Triadobatrachus massinoti (Piveteau, 1936) an anuran amphibian from the Early Triassic". Palaeontographica Abteilung A, Palaeozoologie-Stratigraphie 206: 1–16. - J-C. Rage & Z. Roček - 1989.
- Did Triadobatrachus Jump? Morphology and Evolution of the Anuran Forelimb in Relation to Locomotion in Early Salientians - Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences Number 5 :77-89. - Trond Sigurdsen, David M. Green & Philip J. Bishop - 2012.
- Triadobatrachus massinoti, the earliest known lissamphibian (Vertebrata: Tetrapoda) re-examined by µCT-Scan, and the evolution of trunk length in batrachians. - Contributions to Zoology. 58 (2): 201–234. - Eduardo Ascarrunz, Jean-Claude Rage, Pierre Legreneur & Michel Laurin - 2016.