Chinese Giant Salamander: 200-Year-Old Living Fossil Found In Cave

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chinese giant salamander

A relic of the past, a ‘living fossil’ in the form of a 200-year old wild Chinese giant salamander, was discovered by a fisherman in a cave in China.

The video shows what is considered to be the biggest amphibian on Earth swimming in captivity.

Sputnik reports:

The world’s largest and oldest known living salamander has been found in a Southwestern Chinese cave, near Chongqing, by a local fisherman. The huge beast, at almost 52 kg and over 1.4 meters long, has been transferred to a protective research facility for study.

The big brown amphibian with a frog-like face has small eyes positioned far back on the sides of its head making it hard for it to see, so it uses highly developed smell and touch to find its prey.

Believed to be about 200 years old, the salamander is used in traditional Chinese medicine and is considered endangered. One of the largest amphibians, similar to the prehistoric Eryops from the Lower Permian Period 295 million years ago, the animal is a link with the deep past, according to the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) conservation project.

The creature, considered a delicacy, faces extinction due to water pollution, habitat loss, climate change, and hunting.chinese giant salamander

It earns the moniker “living fossil”according to the Laughing Squid:

CCTV News YouTube video:

At this time, Chinese giant salamanders are considered to be critically endangered, with less than 50,000 of the species left in the wild but there is a plan in place to help rescue the species from extinction.

Endemic to China, the Chinese giant salamander (CGS hereafter) is the largest extant amphibian in the world. Part of the ancient Cryptobranchidae lineage dating back 170 million years, it earns the moniker “living fossil”. However, this species is Critically Endangered and is currently on the brink of extinction. …To save this species from extinction, a Conservation Programme has launched in China, initiated by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in collaboration with Chinese institutions and the government of China. The goal of this Conservation Programme is to build the evidence-base and capacity to underpin, promote and conduct a strategic conservation plan for the CGS within its native range in China.


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