Giant Chinese Salamander Found!


Mesozoic era amphibian: Giant Chinese salamander

A Mesozoic era Giant Salamander was discovered from Heyuan city, China by a Park Ranger in March this year. The creature is a living fossil from the Jurassic period since it’s physical form has remained the same through 170 million years. It is slimy, pale yellowish in colour, 2 feet and 9 inches long (83 cms.), and weighs close to 12 pounds (5.5 kg). This amphibian is known to make similar sounds like a crying baby and so it is named wa wa yu in China, meaning baby fish.

We have seen dinosaurs as fossils, but the giant salamander that once roamed the earth with dinosaurs is still a thriving species and represents a unique surviving lineage from a period long past. It is an enchanting feeling to witness a living, breathing creature that is a direct descendant of the Jurassic period giant salamander. Under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list the giant salamander is considered critically endangered.

Despite being a protected species in China it is a culinary delicacy amongst the Chinese elite. It is rumoured to possess anti-aging properties which makes it a favourite food of the rich Chinese populace. The giant salamanders were a fairly common species in China, but this demand as expensive food items led to wild harvesting and dwindling numbers in the wild. The Chinese government has adopted strict legal measures to protect these creatures; anyone caught eating them may be imprisoned for ten years.


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