Stuck in amber. Scientists have discovered a new species of insects that lived more than 35 million years ago (photo)
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Scientists have discovered another, previously unknown to science , a type of ancient winged insect.
Researchers have discovered a well-preserved ancient insect in a piece of Baltic amber estimated to be between 35 and 47 million years old. This species, previously unknown to science, was named Calliarcys antiquus and belongs to the order Ephemeroptera (mayflies are ancient winged insects that still live on Earth), writes Phys.
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Coniferous trees secrete a substance such as resin for protection. This is happening now, and happened millions of years ago. Since insects often get caught in this resin, even those that are millions of years old, they can still be found as they are preserved in the hardened resin we know as amber. There are amber deposits located in different parts of the world, but the most valuable are those located in the Baltic region. Therefore, this amber is called Baltic amber.
It was in such a piece of ancient amber, which, according to scientists, is from 35 to 47 million years old, that scientists discovered an ancient insect enclosed in it. One of the authors of the new study, Javier Alba-Tercedor from the University of Granada, Spain, used micro-computed tomography to study the ancient insect in as much detail as possible. It turned out to be a completely new species called Calliarcys antiquus.
“Insects are very well preserved in amber, and given the transparency of this material, you can study the smallest details of the creature enclosed here with the help of a microscope.But sometimes, as in this case, the transparency of amber is insufficient.Therefore, micro-computed tomography comes to the rescue, “says Alba-Tercedor.
Micro-CT is a 3D imaging technique using X-rays. The principle of operation of this method is the same as that used in medicine during conventional computed tomography. But micro-CT allows examination on a smaller scale and with much higher resolution. In this way, the internal structure of extremely small objects can be detected.
The scientists were able to completely reconstruct the insect, including areas that would otherwise be impossible to observe due to the opacity of amber. After reconstructing the insect, scientists compared it with known fossil species and concluded that it is a completely new specimen.
“It all started with the discovery of an insect preserved in amber, and ultimately the painstaking work of scientists from different countries led to the description of a new species of ancient insects that lived millions of years ago,” says Alba-Tercedor .
Focus already wrote about what scientists have discovered and a new species of lizard 110 million years old.