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Plants and Animals

50 Million-Year-Old Assassin Bug Has Its Unusually Well Preserved Bits on Show

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It may sound like a publicly embarrassing chapter to you, but the discovery of a preserved insect specimen in the visible genitals is a cause for celebration among scientists, according to a new study published in the journal Paleontology Has been done, even the fragile structure is still intact.

It is a lucrative search for many reasons to say academically, but the unique preservation of the capsule in its genitals (known to astrologers as phagophore) is particularly noteworthy. Upon inspection, the researchers of the new paper realized that the internal features of the genitals of the ancient bugs were clearly visible and well preserved, which provided new insights into the love life of the ancient bugs. Such complex details are very rare in fossil specimens.

Researcher on the study Daniel Swanson, a graduate student in entomology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, wrote in an email to IFLScience, “One of the reasons [for this] is that the structural parts of the genitals are made up of membrane structures that do not store well.” “Even in our fossils, most of the preserved genitalia are sclerotized or hardened. Another successful feature of this fossil is that the two parts come from a coronal division, which gives us an internal view of this structure. Fossils of compression usually preserve only a view of the back or abdomen, in which case you do not see any internal physiology in the true sense. “

The specimen represents a new genus and species for killer bugs. Surviving species still roam the earth today, some of which carry a backpack made of dead ants. Unusual accessories are thought to provide camouflage for striking insects, which leave the internal parts of their prey behind them before mixing viscous saliva. This new species, called Aphelicophontes dan Judi, was recovered from the present-day Colorado Green River Formation. It has a bold banding pattern on its legs, and looks cool when playing table tennis – but the “paddle” is actually a small beetle stuck to the amber.

Swanson wrote, “While impossible, there is no evidence that the Beetle was the victim of a killer bug.” “Most likely it seems that the insect only suffered the same consequences as the killer bug, either drowned or died and then fell into the water and then drowned and saved next to the killer bug. Sometimes water flow and pooling can accumulate large amounts of dead insects that sink into the shallows and save. We call these types of fossil aggregates “rafts”.

The fossil is a lucky one with an interesting story, initially discovered as a result of an open cracking of a rock that split the insect in the middle-absolutely down. The two halves were sold by the fossil trader to two separate collectors, meaning that the researchers did a treasure hunt to find both halves and reassemble them for this study.