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Ancient Giant-Headed Amphibian That Used Sticky Tongue To Catch Prey Discovered

The species – named Chemnitzion richteri – used an ambush strategy to feed, according to researchers in Germany.

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of extinct amphibian that used its powerful sticky tongue to catch bugs.

The species – named Chemnitzion richteri – used an ambush strategy to feed, according to researchers in Germany.

With its huge head and small body the creature developed up to 300 million years ago in forests around eastern Germany.

The new species was unearthed by scientists at an excavation site situated where a petrified forest had once been located.

Chemnitz city official Ralph Burghart said: “The remains of the species were discovered at Frankenberger Road in Chemnitz-Hilbersdorf, right where the local fire station is situated today.”

The Saxon Railway Museum is located just a few miles further down the road.

The fossil from the excavation field on a property on Frankenberger Strase at about house number 61, in an undated photo. German Natural History Museum discovered 291-million-year-old, previously unknown amphibian species. Note: Licensed photo(Philipp Kohler, City of Chemnitz/Zenger)

Local media praised the discovery as a “paleontologic sensation.”

Chemnitz Natural History Museum curator Dr. Thorid Zierold explained: “The Chemnitzion richteri was an insectivore.

“It was capable of powerfully projecting its large sticky tongue from its mouth to capture insects and articulate animals.”

The amphibian belongs to the group called Labyrinthodontia, ancient Greek for ‘maze-toothed’.

Experts say the amphibians thrived in the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras, about 400 to 120 million years ago.

The specific type discovered by researchers at the Chemnitz petrified forest inhabited the area 291 million years ago.

The German species had short legs and a large head, according to experts from the Chemnitz Natural History Museum and the University of Technology Freiberg.

The scientists stress that the species’ general build is significantly different from any previously known insectivore amphibians.

A 3D reconstruction of the Chemnitzion richteri will now go on display at the local Natural History Museum, according to Dr. Ronny Roessler, the institution’s director.

Scientists from Chemnitz, nearby Freiberg, the Thuringian town of Schleusingen and Berlin participated in excavations and research.

The petrified forest of Chemnitz is one of the most important archaeological sites of the region.

With 300,000 objects on display, the Museum of Natural History Chemnitz is among the biggest and most renowned institutions of its kind in eastern Germany.

A general view at the new rooms “Evolution in Action” at the Museum of Naturkunde, The Natural History Museum in Berlin, on July 13, 2007.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Due to its unique features, Chemnitz officials decided to give the recently discovered species a new name.

While scientists and city officials wanted to underline its origin with the first part of its name, ‘richteri’ refers to a venerated local researcher.

Chemnitz is the third-largest city in the German state of Saxony. It has around 245,000 inhabitants. It is located 155 miles south of the federal capital Berlin and 35 miles from the Czech border.

Chemnitz and Nova Gorica, Slovenia, will be the European Capitals of Culture in 2025.

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