Monday, September 24, 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:

6285194
266322
177176

 
Planet-hunting probe finds two new candidates
9-23-2018
A mere two months after beginning operations, NASA's TESS spacecraft has found two new extrasolar worlds.
Two-headed snake discovered in Virginia
9-23-2018
An 'extremely rare' adult copperhead snake with two heads was recently found in a garden in Woodbridge.
Optical illusion can determine how old you are
9-23-2018
According to researchers, your age group can be determined by how you initially interpret this image.
1,000ft spider web covers edge of Greek lagoon
9-22-2018
A vast stretch of vegetation next to Aitoliko Lagoon has become hidden beneath a huge mass of spider silk.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Treadmill fall in slow motion
Posted 9-17-2018 | 2 comments
The Slo Mo Guys return with another bizarre slow-motion experiment.
 
Tricking your ears
Posted 9-9-2018 | 0 comments
A look at some intriguing audio illusions and at how the brain interprets sound.
 
The science of music
Posted 9-5-2018 | 0 comments
A look at why our brains become so hooked on particularly catchy songs.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
And the shadows smile
8-25-2018 | Deal UK
 
Disappearing objects
8-12-2018 | Houston TX USA
 
I dreamt that Austin was destroyed
8-12-2018 | USA / Texas
 
Demon on my TV screen
8-12-2018 | U.S.
 
3 knocks, 3 nights...
8-12-2018 | San Fernando Valley, CA
 
Feeling something strange
8-9-2018 | Sydney, Australia
 
 
Dragon sighting in Spring Tx.
8-9-2018 | Spring Texas
 
My bed definitely shook
7-24-2018 | nsw
 
Huge black triangle UFO
6-13-2018 | Mt Maunganui New Zealand
 

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