Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Prehistoric tiny bugs found trapped in amber
WTOP ^ | 8/28/12 | SETH BORENSTEIN

Posted on 08/28/2012 8:29:13 AM PDT by null and void


This undated handout photo provided by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the University of Göttingen shows photomicrographs of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy. The gall mites were named: Triasacarus fedelei, left, and Ampezzoa triassica. (AP Photo/A. Schmidt, University of Göttingen, Proceedings of the National Academy)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have found three well preserved ancient insects frozen in amber — and time — in what is Earth's oldest bug trap.

The discoveries of amber-encased insects in Italy may sound like something out of "Jurassic Park" but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest critters trapped in fossilized tree resin, or amber.

Gooey tree resin is like sap but without water and can't be diluted.

Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a tad tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.

The discovery was reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While older insects have been found in rock fossils, these are different because they are not compressed and better preserved, said study lead author David Grimaldi, curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And you can see more detail, he said.

"''That's the great thing about amber. You can make this incredible detailed comparison with living species." Grimaldi said.

And when Grimaldi compared the ancient mites to their modern day descendants, he was surprised about how similar they are. Except for difference in the mouth and fewer legs, "they're dead ringers for (modern) gall mites," he said. The modern ones can be found in bubbles or galls on plant leaves.

And that's surprising because the world itself has changed a lot from when these bugs were alive. Back then, there was only one giant continent, some early primitive dinosaurs and no flower plants. Mites now live on flowering plants, but their ancient relatives must have stayed on trees, Grimaldi said.

Derek Briggs, director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and who wasn't part of the research, called the bugs' discovery tantalizing, adding that it could help researchers further understand how life evolved on land.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: amber; godsgravesglyphs; italy; triassic
The mites are about as long as a hair is wide.
1 posted on 08/28/2012 8:29:17 AM PDT by null and void
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: null and void; SunkenCiv

.... something up your alley.


2 posted on 08/28/2012 8:30:57 AM PDT by momtothree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

So can we make dinosaurs now?


3 posted on 08/28/2012 8:34:19 AM PDT by Mr. Impatient (There are no lawyers for pigs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Neat stuff. Makes me itch, though.


4 posted on 08/28/2012 8:34:19 AM PDT by ComputerGuy (HM2/USN M/3/3 Marines RVN 66-67)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void; KevinDavis

This is what martian “life” is going to look like when we find it.

Only no amber. Just rock.


5 posted on 08/28/2012 8:34:53 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

"..quite the coincidence, last time I had strange "bugs" I ended up at the vets because of a girl named Amber"

6 posted on 08/28/2012 8:35:51 AM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Doogle

7 posted on 08/28/2012 8:47:31 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (WA DC E$tabli$hment; DNC/RNC/Unionists...Brazilian saying: "$@me Old $hit; w/ different flie$" :^)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Well there goes two bugs that will never make it to the water to sprout gills and swim away.


8 posted on 08/28/2012 8:51:01 AM PDT by soycd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
And when Grimaldi compared the ancient mites to their modern day descendants, he was surprised about how similar they are. Except for difference in the mouth and fewer legs, "they're dead ringers for (modern) gall mites," he said.

Hmmmm......

9 posted on 08/28/2012 8:56:25 AM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

I have several pieces of polished Baltic amber that contain a mosquito and an ant. Their preservation is perfect. Looking at them through a stereo (3D) microscope, I can see no obvious differences from modern specimens. They cause me to wonder how old that amber really is.


10 posted on 08/28/2012 9:18:43 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

“they’re dead ringers for (modern) gall mites,”

What? You mean they haven’t “evolved” into something else?

Millions of generations and the mites are still mites.


11 posted on 08/28/2012 9:37:49 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Is this really news? Seems a huge percentage of amber sold has a bug in it.


12 posted on 08/28/2012 9:40:25 AM PDT by stocksthatgoup (Common sense although common knowledge is seldom common practice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TexasRepublic
"I have several pieces of polished Baltic amber that contain a mosquito and an ant....They cause me to wonder how old that amber really is."

I have some plastic ice cubes that contain a housefly. I bought them at Spencer gifts when I was in high school so I know they're over 20 years old.

13 posted on 08/28/2012 9:43:33 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

As long as we have an ecological niche for mites, we’ll have mites.

Do you ask, “If the human race came out of Africa, why do we still have Africans?”


14 posted on 08/28/2012 9:54:43 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1317 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Impatient
So can we make dinosaurs now?

Not yet.

Patience, my FRiend, patience...

15 posted on 08/28/2012 9:57:59 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1317 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: null and void

“Do you ask, “If the human race came out of Africa, why do we still have Africans?”

No, I ask what is the essential difference between an African and an Eskimo and find little.


16 posted on 08/28/2012 11:19:30 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

Good answer.


17 posted on 08/28/2012 11:23:47 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1317 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: momtothree; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks momtothree.

It's been a while since we had one about this, so...

A "Look Back in Amber" ping.
They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest critters trapped in fossilized tree resin, or amber.
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


18 posted on 08/28/2012 3:19:57 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Tell her to go to the doctor and get a prescription.


19 posted on 08/28/2012 3:30:52 PM PDT by Ken H
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

I find this stuff amazing.


20 posted on 08/28/2012 3:39:38 PM PDT by Gator113 (I would have voted for NEWT, now it's Ryan and the other guy.~Just livin' life, my way~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void; Mr. Impatient

So can we make dinosaurs now?
Not yet.

Patience, my FRiend, patience...


I’m about to have dinner, but I’m free in about an hour. Do I need to bring tools?


21 posted on 08/28/2012 3:40:41 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (If there is a war on women, the Kennedys are the Spec Ops troops.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Rides_A_Red_Horse

One can never have too many PCR machines...


22 posted on 08/28/2012 3:51:21 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1317 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Impatient

The End of Civilization as we know it:

First they cloned the mammoth because it looks so cute like a elephant.

Then the pterodactyl to see how it flew.

Then the megalodon shark to see if it could eat whatever it wanted in the sea.

Then someone wanted to see if velociraptors really had feathers like birds.

And you know where pure science is going.


23 posted on 08/28/2012 4:28:50 PM PDT by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk oMnly to me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: wildbill
And then someone*cough* wanted a pet T-Rex with attachable miniguns and rocket launchers.
24 posted on 08/28/2012 4:34:59 PM PDT by Mr. Impatient (Everything is about as clear as a bowling ball covered in marmite and cat noses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: null and void
"The mites are about as long as a hair is wide. "

About 100 microns. (Caucasian hair)

25 posted on 08/28/2012 6:49:03 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Impatient

That is my only question:
Do these lil’ bug(gers) have any DinoDNA within?


26 posted on 08/29/2012 9:01:29 AM PDT by AFPhys ((Praying for our troops, our citizens, that the Bible and Freedom become basis of the US law again))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change; null and void

The “essential difference” between Africans and Eskimos is a very small number of DNA mutations, just the number that can accumulate over several thousand generations.


27 posted on 08/30/2012 5:30:47 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson