Ant War: fossil insects appear locked in mortal combat
#Cosmoread: Ants and termites armored battleships well preserved in amber have been found in a strange world.
Insect fossils from Myanmar in Burmese amber entombed, ants and termites to date back 99 million years to 100 million years. Fossil too early in their development of these insects reveals startling society. Ants cluster together with others of their kind, and, in one case engage in pitched battle mandible jaw. Termite soldiers and workers, a hallmark of the special roles of the body showing different variations.
“Until now, we knew that the oldest [termite] troops were about 20 million years, so we have a record of 80 million years long,” said study researcher Peter Barden, a postdoctoral scientist at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York.
The oldest known animal group termites are social, Barden told Live Science, and fossil and genetic evidence shows that they have emerged in the early Cretaceous period, between 146 million and 100 million years ago. 100 million year old fossil was found, compared to termites, he said, but only winged reproductive termites. Burmese amber specimens, which are housed in the AMNH collection, the oldest evidence of nations. Termite colonies today, just like in the Cretaceous, with wings made of breeding individuals, the construction of tunnels and food and soldiers responsible for defending workers responsible for collecting.
Workers and soldiers are easy to tell apart, Barden said, because workers are soft and misshapen, and soldiers are difficult, specific heat and the strong mandibles.
“A worker who is very killable, and an armored tank soldier is like a thing,” Barden said.
Reporting online February 11 in the journal Current Biology, the researchers found in amber Gigantotermes Rex named one of the newly discovered species. Termite mandibles almost an inch thick (2 cm) long. Another new species. Krishnatermes Yoddha, while Krishna Kumar termite researcher and Hindi word “Yod’dha,” or warrior got its name from. K. Yoddha all three races a thick-headed soldier, a far more delicate and transparent with wing workers were found, including a reproductive termite.
Termites’ main nemeses – – This termite roles early in development to find such a clear picture is interesting because the ants 100 million years ago, there were still major ecological, Barden said.
“It appears that these early termite soldier ants must not deal with race,” he said. “It was already well developed when your child is taking steps were like ants.”
Ant those baby steps were outlined in a companion paper, also published online in Current Biology. Barden and his colleagues ants Burmese amber fossils from 99 million years ago, examined, only 1 million years old fossil ant is considered, which is smaller than that found in France. Perhaps these fossils 50 million years before the ants have developed, in the late Jurassic or early Cretaceous, but no fossils have been found from that period.
The new fossil shows that 99 million years ago, there were ants, social; Although they found the insect in amber fossils from a mere 1 percent, they cluster together more often than would be expected by chance. For example, the probability that a sample that held 11 Gerontoformica spirals ants and ant Haidomyrmex zigrasi mere happenstance will contain a 1 in 31 quadrillion, the researchers reported. A piece of amber contains three different species of ants is 21.
One of the most amazing fossils captured two species, G. And G. spirals tender workers, their jaws clasped around each other, locked in mortal combat with the appendage. Before either could emerge victorious, the battle flashed amber, freezing it in place.
Ant “war” in the pursuit of these bugs showed evidence of complex social behavior is not just a line, Barden said. The researchers also found the fossil workers and queens, revealing that these experts had already existed in the Cretaceous ant colonies. I, Barden said, it was also exciting because the pest ants raiding the kitchen cabinets are foreign, compared with today.
Take Haidomyrmex genus. The now extinct giant mandibles that ants can be snapped shut to impale their prey was, Barden said. Haidomyrmex (which means “ant hill”) have survived for at least 20 million years, and its expertise suggests it may depend on a specific, but unknown, type of victim. Another species, the new Burmese samples described, like a camel head and mouthparts bizarre pointy hair was covered.
“It’s about the movies ‘hunters’ looks like,” Barden said.
The long-lost species of modern birds are dinosaurs of today to what the ants are, Barden said – that is now lost early adaption. Now he and his colleagues to understand how these creatures and their social structures as well as develop more fossil Burmese are studying the genetics of modern insects.
“Fossil really about things that are alive today may be illuminating to learn,” Barden said. “And things alive today and within genes actually learning about how these things were soon to be lighted.”