The scientists discovered an unusual amber fossil, containing the marks of an insect escaping an amber trap, 50 million years ago.
Amber is a fossilized tree resin that over hundreds of millenniums had provided paleontologists incredibly significant information on ancient plants and insects. However, every once in a while the scientists discover fossils capturing singular momentums, just like an instant 3-D capture of life.
This particular amber fossil had been found near the Baltic Sea and included a small mushroom, a mammal hair, and the exoskeleton of the insect that happily got away.
The researchers from the Oregon State University said that the tiny mushroom was probably bitten by a rodent, as the whole scene was captured at the base of a tree.
It seems that the bug tried to feed off the mushroom too when the tree sap dropped from the top of the plant and made the invertebrate rush off and left behind its’ troubling exoskeleton.
The hair probably belongs to the rodent, as he too tried to make an escape from the drop.
The Absent Characters
The phasmid insect had to lose its exoskeleton several times before becoming an adult, this happening over a couple of months. The creature was wise enough to understand it needed to flee the scene and it also had the ability to drop the unnecessary skin quickly.
Both the insect and the mushrooms are now extinct. The fungus represents a whole new species and a new genus, as it is the first mushroom to have ever been found in the Baltic Sea.
The insect seemed to be an ancestor of today’s stick-bugs, an invertebrate with a camouflage system that allows it to resemble a green stick and releases tonic secretion.
The exoskeleton is fresh, and it shows filaments that would have probably dried out if it was left behind for a longer time.
The two absent characters had evolutionary traits that permitted them to survive. However, this is relative. Even if they managed to escape the amber trap, the creatures ceased to exist in the midst of the centuries. Now, both of them are extinct species.
Life in the Ancient Coniferous Forests
The amber was found in former emplacement of the Baltic Sea, in an area that now is occupied by Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and Russia. The subtropical coniferous forest lasted about 10 million years, during which time the sap captured segments of life.
At that point, flowering plants were starting to populate the locations of cone-bearing plants. The dinosaurs had already been extinct for millions of years, and the mammals began to develop into new species.
Amber fossils sometimes offer information on ancient ecosystems by capturing elements of the environment and momentums of the daily life in the old forests. These types of fossils can help scientists to reconstruct the interactions present in the ancient world.
The amber deposits in the Baltic area are the largest in the entire world. The little pieces of resin were traded by Romans, taken over by Teutonic knights and now represent an incredibly large volume of semi-precious stones.
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