Saturday, December 15, 2018
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Ancient butterflies existed before flowers


Posted on Sunday, 14 January, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments

Butterflies had a proboscis 70 million years before flowers existed. Image Credit: PD - Richiebits
A fascinating discovery has called in to question everything we know about the evolution of butterflies.
Until now, it was generally accepted that the proboscis - a long, tongue-like mouthpiece used by today's moths and butterflies to reach the nectar inside floral tubes, originally evolved after the emergence of flowers to take advantage of this plentiful new food source.

A new palaeontological discovery however may have cast this theory in to serious doubt.

During a recent study of fossil cores from the late Triassic and early Jurassic, an international team of researchers came across tiny fossilized scales - the type typically found on butterflies and moths.

A more detailed analysis of the find later revealed that these prehistoric butterflies, which date back around 200 million years, also had a proboscis, despite the fact that flowers wouldn't come in to existence for another 70 million years.

The answer, it seems, is that either flowers emerged much earlier and we have yet to find fossil evidence of this or butterflies and moths evolved a proboscis for some other purpose.

In the case of the latter, one possibility is that the proboscis could have helped them lap up the sugary pollination drops of gymnosperms, a type of plant that was extremely common at the time.

Either way, it seems that the existing theory on the evolution of these insects appears to be wrong.

Source: Smithsonian | Comments (5)

Tags: Butterflies, Flowers

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Orphalesion on 14 January, 2018, 21:28
Interesting! Yeah I'm going with the explanation that they used it for the sap of gymnosperms, that was my first thought upon reading the headline.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hankenhunter on 15 January, 2018, 1:57
My theory is that they were blood  sucking monstrosities that had to change their diet when the dinos died out. I knew you couldn't trust something that perfect. Flitting around without a care in the world. How dare they! Next thing you know they'll be applying for welfare, smoking pot, and loitering at flower shops everywhere. Some, I assume, are good bugs though. *shakes fist at cheery entomologists*  
Comment icon #3 Posted by third_eye on 15 January, 2018, 15:08
It is rather, 'flowers' that I think which needs a whole new outlook ... flowers back then does not look like what it does today, which most of which does not look like we think they do in the wild if at all ... ~
Comment icon #4 Posted by quiXilver on 16 January, 2018, 2:42
They are Flutterby's. When oh when will the rest of the world get this fixed??  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog on 28 January, 2018, 22:54
They were probably sucking blood from dinosaur eyes ! Bloodthirsty creatures, don't ever take their cuteness for granted !  


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

6346995
268497
178337

 
Closest ever photograph of the Sun revealed
12-14-2018
NASA's groundbreaking Parker Solar Probe has taken a close-up shot from inside the Sun's corona.
Mystery of 'teleporting boy' has been solved
12-14-2018
Social media users were left puzzled recently by a news clip showing a boy who seems to appear from nowhere.
Was megalodon wiped out by a supernova ?
12-14-2018
A new study has suggested that the world's largest ever shark may have been wiped out by an exploding star.
'Dancing robot' turns out to be a man in a suit
12-13-2018
A recent segment on Russian state TV mistakenly reported on a 'high-tech robot' that was anything but.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Humboldt squid takes a bite
Posted 12-10-2018 | 1 comment
A look at what happened when Steve Backshall met a rather large Humboldt squid.
 
Rainbow jelly tennis
Posted 12-3-2018 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys attempt another ridiculous slow motion experiment involving jelly.
 
Progress launch timelapse
Posted 11-24-2018 | 0 comments
A look at the recent launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
My name is whispered
11-9-2018 | Wish not to disclose
 
Strange numbers on arm
11-9-2018 | Charlotte, NC
 
Two experiences
10-31-2018 | Pryor, OK
 
Various experiences
10-31-2018 | Californiia
 
A transparent figure
10-31-2018 | Nigeria
 
My childhood haunting
10-29-2018 | Cincinnati, Ohio
 
Orange, hovering, atom-like figure
10-25-2018 | West kelowna
 
I saw a strange man
10-25-2018 | Croatia
 
Spontaneous exorcisms
10-25-2018 | Canada
 
Two children who didn't age
10-24-2018 | United States New York
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ