A white-speckled frog declared extinct after not being seen in nearly six decades, resurfaced in 2011 and was recently declared a "living fossil" after genetic tests revealed the frog belongs to a group of amphibians that died out 15,000 years ago, the BBC reports.  

Officially listed as extinct in 1996, the Hula painted frog is one of scores of known amphibians to have not been seen for several decades. In the 1950s, the draining of Lake Hula, the painted frog's natural habitat in Israel, is thought to have led to the extinction of the Hula painted frog. But in November 2011, a female specimen believed to be one of the extinct frogs was spotted.

A genetic analysis of the female specimen revealed it belongs to the Latonia group of amphibians. Once widespread throughout Europe for millions of years, the Lationa group died out 15,000 years ago. The confirmation that the Hula painted frog is part of the extinct amphibian group is exciting news for scientist.

"We felt like we had a great finding when we first rediscovered it - this (frog) was like an idol in Israel," professor Sarig Gafny, of the Ruppin Academic Center, in Israel, told BBC News.

"But then we found it was a living fossil: this was amazing."

The Lationia group of frogs is known only from fossils, so the chance to see a living specimen is a rare treat for scientist.

But even before discovering the frog was back from the dead, the Hula painted frog was elusive. Only three adults were ever seen prior to the species being declared extinct. Since the 2011 re-discovery, another 13 Hula painted frog specimens have been documented, the BBC reports.  

 A research paper on the living fossil frog was published in the journal Nature. In the paper's abstract, the authors write, "The survival of this living fossil is a striking example of resilience to severe habitat degradation during the past century by an amphibian."