Skip to comments.Prehistoric tiny bugs found trapped in amber
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.
.... something up your alley.
So can we make dinosaurs now?
Neat stuff. Makes me itch, though.
This is what martian “life” is going to look like when we find it.
Only no amber. Just rock.
"..quite the coincidence, last time I had strange "bugs" I ended up at the vets because of a girl named Amber"
Well there goes two bugs that will never make it to the water to sprout gills and swim away.
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.
“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.
Is this really news? Seems a huge percentage of amber sold has a bug in it.
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.
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?”
Patience, my FRiend, patience...
“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.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Tell her to go to the doctor and get a prescription.
I find this stuff amazing.
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