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Intriguing insect fossils preserved in amber

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

All fossils are time capsules. But unlike many other finds, insects encapsulated in amber are often perfectly preserved. "Frequently, their external morphology is as well conserved as if they had been sealed in synthetic resin," says LMU zoologist Professor Joachim T. Haug. He and his colleagues have now obtained new insights into the evolutionary history of insects from specimens that were trapped in natural tree resins 100 million years ago, in forests in what is now Myanmar.

Among the finds are fossil lacewing larvae whose morphology differs strikingly from that of the 'typical' insect larva. Their most unusual features are their elongated appendages—particularly the mouthparts called stylets, which look like hypodermic needles.



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