Tuesday, July 17, 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 cutenessfor granted !


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

6232424
264590
176108

 
Twelve new moons discovered around Jupiter
7-17-2018
The discovery means that the gas giant has a total of 79 moons - more than any other planet in the solar system.
5,500-year-old tomb discovered in Ireland
7-17-2018
A megalithic tomb unearthed in County Meath has been described by archaeologists as the 'find of a lifetime'.
A quadrillion tons of diamond discovered
7-17-2018
Scientists have determined that there is 1,000 times more diamond beneath our feet than previously thought.
2,000-year-old Basel papyrus mystery solved
7-16-2018
Researchers have finally succeeded in deciphering an ancient papyrus with mirror writing on both sides.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Spinning a record to pieces
Posted 7-15-2018 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys attempt another intriguing slow motion experiment with old vinyl records.
 
Pearlfish's gross hiding spot
Posted 7-8-2018 | 1 comment
A pearlfish finds a particularly unappealing place to hide on the ocean floor.
 
What jobs will flourish in the future ?
Posted 7-5-2018 | 2 comments
Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku predicts which jobs will be important in the future.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Huge black triangle UFO
6-13-2018 | Mt Maunganui New Zealand
 
Ghastly intuition
6-13-2018 | Bay Area CA
 
A haunted... desk?
6-13-2018 | Peoria, Illinois
 
Mystery bristle brush
5-9-2018 | Whittier, U.S.A.
 
Dreams and clues to the future
3-31-2018 | Philippines and Germany
 
Black cloaked figure
3-31-2018 | Carlisle, Cumbria, England
 
Three knocks
3-8-2018 | Canada
 
Two shadows of me
3-8-2018 | Bellflower, LA
 
I think I know what I saw
3-5-2018 | Near Sultan, Washington
 
Ghost, or something else ?
3-5-2018 | Ohio, USA
 

         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