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Small beetle caught in amber can show how the landmasses have shifted

Propiestus archaicus canned in amber. Credit: (c) Field Museum, Shuhei Yamamoto "> The fossil beaker Propiestus archaicus preserved in amber.…

Propiestus archaicus canned in amber. Credit: (c) Field Museum, Shuhei Yamamoto “>

The fossil beaker Propiestus archaicus preserved in amber. Credit: (c) Field Museum, Shuhei Yamamoto

In 201

6, Shuhei Yamamoto received an ore-shaped piece of Burmese amber from the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar, near the southern border of China. He had a hunch that the three millimeter insect caught inside the yellow could help anhow how our world today looks like it does.

After careful cutting and polishing of the old man, Yamamoto decided that the insect, less than the phone end of an iPhone charger, was a new species for science. Bafeln, living 99 million years ago, is a relative of insects living today living under a tree bark and it gives scientists tips on how the land’s landmasses were organized many years ago.

“This is a very rare discovery, said Yamamoto, a field museum scientist and author of a paper in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology describing the new species. The fossil beetle is one of the oldest known members of its family, the name Propiestus archaicus refers to the fact that it is an old relative of the flat roggebags of Piestus the genus today dominates South America.

While the dinosaurs roamed much of the earth for 99 million years ago during the late crystalline period, Propiestus with its flattened body and short legs was occupied to conquer less grass under the bark of rotating trees. Its long, narrow antennas were the clear giveaway to Yamamoto that Propiestus lived in this environment, resembling today’s plate robberies.

“The antenna probably had a very sensitive ability as a sensory body,” said Yamamoto. Less hairy Structures attached perpendicular to the antennas would have increased their ability to sense the environment. “There was not much room in the habitat of the bafl, so it was important to be able to discover everything,” he explains.

Propiestus is just one of hundreds of thousands of Burmese yellow excerpts – another word for the objects trapped inside the yellow – which the researchers have carried out investigated in the last 15 years. Many small insects that lived during the chalkids met their manufacturers in the hands of tree soup that smashed the bugs and hardened in yellow. The bugs caught inside fossilized and remained frozen for millions of years, unaffected by the passage of time. The hardened amber, covered with soil, decayed leaves and other organic matter, eventually mixed with the environment.

Because of this, yellow nature does not look like it does in jewelry – it does not actually look like anything at all. The small clumps of unpolished amber look look like stones, which means that only those who are familiar with amber identification, mostly local miners, can find them.

The fossil beetle in amber, with a pencil for the scale. Credit: (c) Field Museum

After miners extracting the yellow, the lumps are sold either to the jewelry trade or to researchers such as Yamamoto to study the inclusions. For Yamamoto’s pieces of amber he used sandpaper to carefully polish amber enough to make Propiestus clearly visible.

“It was very exciting, because the cutting process is very sensitive,” said Yamamoto. “If you cut too fast or apply too much pressure, you destroy the insert inside very quickly.”

When the yellow was polished, the beetle was clearly visible so that Yamamoto and his colleagues could study the cup and determine their closest life relatives. Propiestus Flat Rover beetle cousins ​​living today are mostly in South America, with the exception of a species in southern Arizona. Myanmar, where Propiestus was found, is literally on the other side of the globe from these places. But it has not always been so.

Many years ago, Myanmar and South America were actually quite close to each other, all melting together as a part of Megacontinent Gondwanaland, which was formed when the former megacontinent Pangea broke down. Gondwanaland itself eventually quenched and helps to form the continents we recognize on a map today.

Scientists have a clear idea of ​​which of today’s continents and subcontinent would have consisted of Gondwanaland and who would have made up their sister continent Laurasia. However, the detailed time and pattern of the division of Gondwana countries in smaller continents is contradictory. Searching for supporting or contrasting evidence means analyzing fossils, as small as Propiestus, to compare their similarities with other organisms discovered worldwide that could have inhabited the same space a long time ago.

“Like koalor and kangaroos today, some animals we think we lived in Gondwanaland are only in some parts of the world. Although Propiestus was released long ago, our results are likely to show some amazing connections between Southern Hemisphere and Myanmar,” said Yamamoto. . “Our result fits well with the hypothesis that Myanmar, unlike today, was once located in the southern hemisphere.”

Many Burmese amber inclusions that have been investigated in the past 15 years, including Prophecy, show signs that show properties In common with insects from Gondwanaland. By studying these little creatures caught in yellow, we find answers to the questions about the structure of the earth and the life it supported many years ago.

“This fossil helps us understand the life of it mesozoic era, “he said.” We have to think about everything from that time, both big and small. “

Explore further:
Tiny paragliding beetle that lived with dinosaurs discovered in amber, called “Jason”

Journal Reference:
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

Provided by:
field Museum

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