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Monday, February 20, 2017

A piece of amber and tell scientists about the exciting adventure of an ancient bug

Studying the amber coast of the Baltic sea, a group of scientists under the leadership of George Poinar from the University of Oregon found a frozen mushroom and the beetle’s shell by the age of 50 million years. Experts suggest finding helps to restore the plot, worthy almost of the short film.

photo: Sergei Ivanov

Scientists often find ancient insects and other small living creatures, frozen in amber after millions of years became well-preserved for study. However, 50 million years beetle, reminiscent of the modern stick insects, managed at the last moment to avoid such a fate.

Apparently, the beetle came to the mushroom to eat it. By the way, this is the first mushroom found in amber in the area. Apparently, he was bitten by some larger animal (likely rodent) — as evidenced by the marks on the fungus and fragments of wool, frozen in the same piece of amber. However, if a large animal, the vow took place without incident, the beetle was not so lucky — he had to come to the mushroom, both of them fell drop of resin in which the insect got trapped. In the future this drop and became amber, and the opportunity not to remain in it forever 50 million years ago was introduced to the ancient stick insects is very slim.

In order to escape from captivity, the beetle had to “put out” almost in the literal sense of the word. He “jumped” from its own exoskeleton, and, in all probability, still alive. Such “molt” is quite characteristic of the young of stick insects, but she is so on time. Subsequently, the SAP flowed, completely covering the exoskeleton, and in this form it scientists found.

However, according to scientists, there is another, slightly more boring, scenario — probably a beetle popped out of the shell, fearing that the animal, which competed with them for the fungus, and then the resin fell on the discarded exoskeleton.

New “skin” of the insect, provided that in the future his life was uneventful, it should grow back in a few months, the researchers suggest.

The scientific work of specialists presented in the journal Fungal Biology.

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