Posts Tagged 'Zorapteran'

Treasure trove of arthropods found in Cretaceous African amber

Researchers have recently unearthed a bounty of fossil-bearing amber in Ethiopia. These 95 million year old amber pieces contain a variety of life forms including plants, fungai, bacteria, nematodes and many species of arthropods. The arthropods found in the amber include springtails, fairy wasps, thrips, Zorapterans (a species-poor Insect order that I had never heard of), and arachnids. Here are some shots of the arthropod amber inclusions.

Arthropod amber inclusions for Cretaceous Ethiopia. From left to right: A false fairy wasp (Mymarommatidae), a thrips (Merothripidae), and a Zorapteran. Adapted from Schmidt et al., 2010.

These sort of amber fossils are especially useful in piecing together the complex interplay of life in ancient ecosystems. They provide a snapshot of a wide variety of contemporary and interdependent life that other fossil types do not preserve. This find helps fill in some especially troublesome gaps in Cretaceous African biodiversity.

Read more at Wired or get the paper at PNAS; but don’t tell this guy about it:

Interesting trivia: John Hammond in 'Jurassic Park' was played by Richard Attenborough, elder brother of naturalist David Attenborough.


I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

Flickr Photos