Naturalist and wildlife photographer Kalyan Varma has snapped some fantastic new pics of the frog Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, the purple frog (sometimes called the pignose frog), a “squat, grumpy blob” (as this BBC news piece aptly describes it) that was discovered in India just in 2003.

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The frog spends 50 weeks a year burrowed underground, which explains why scientists have never seen it before. Biologists have described N. sahyadrensis as “a living fossil” because it resembles (in some ways) some of the earliest frogs like few other living species. It is the closest living relative of the Sooglossidae, which live in the Seychelles. N. sahyadrensis split from that family 130 million years ago, and went along its own evolutionary path, resulting in the bizarre little amphibian you see before you.

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Like I always say: frogs are cool. Go on – tell me that isn’t one kick-ass frog. Find me a mammal that looks so weird.

Congrats to Varma for snapping these pics – I cannot imagine how thrilling that must have been. Kudos.

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