Ancient bug found in amber is (probably) one of a kind

Researchers have discovered a unique ancient insect trapped in amber, one that has never been seen before. The rarity of this bug necessitated the creation of a new insect order classification. At first glance, the insect appears something like an ant, but a second look shows that there are definitely some oddities, including what look like a pair of pinchers off its back end. The insect has been named Aethiocarenus burmanicus.

The insect shown in the photo above is said to be about 100 million years old, female, and with a wingless body. The entire creature is well preserved, having become trapped in sap or something similar far, far back in Earth's history. The head is unique with its V-shape, in that it is reversed from what is typical — in modern times, says the study, "the hypotenuse of the triangle [shaped head] is always located at the base of the head and attached to the neck."

The researchers go on to say that the insect has a flat, long, and narrow body upon which long and slender legs are attached. The hind legs are said to be twice the length of the abdomen, which is described as swollen. There are noticeable eyes, secretory glands on the dorsum, and paired ocelli.

It's not unusual for scientists to find insects trapped in amber — we've seen reports of such on a regular basis. Last summer, for example, we saw a report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences saying researchers had documented 39 different ancient insects. In this case, though, the insect is one never before seen.

SOURCE: Science Direct