Asian Horned Frogs comprise about half of the Megophryidae, the ancient family of frogs which have characteristic horn-like projections over their eyes. Their evolutionary history is not known because of the lack of their fossils. Earlier, they estimated that this group must have originated 100-126 million years ago.
A study published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution has altered this estimation using the RelTime method. Their results well correlate with our current knowledge on prehistoric biogeography ie, their time and space distribution, tectonic plate movements, palaeo-climatic change, and rise of mountain ranges.
The results indicate that this family of frogs evolved just 77 million years ago. Many species of these frogs which due to their similar appearances were thought to be closely related, are found to be distance relatives. And those with different appearances are found to be close relatives.
The results also identified many species in Laos, Vietnam and India which are new to science. This demonstrates that many species are still undiscovered. Many species are becoming extinct owing to climate change and constant habitat destruction before mankind learns about them. But, molecular techniques are dramatically speeding up the process of learning.