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Bizaare Hybrid: Researchers Discover Unique Insect With Legs of a Grasshopper and Face of Wasp

Oct 14, 2016 04:13 AM EDT
Wingless wasp
This ancient wasp without wings lived at the base of trees while dinosaurs wondered around above it, and is the only known specimen in a newly-created family of Hymenoptera. (Photo by George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University)
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University)

An extinct wingless wasp has been discovered inside a 100-million-year old amber at one of the richest such deposits in all Cretaceous amber in Myanmar.

Researchers at Oregon State University claimed that the ancient species is so bizarre that they cannot pinpoint how they should classify it.

According to Oregon Live, the well preserved specimen has an anatomy shared from various insects but it actually does not belong to any family ever identified on Earth, making it truly one-of-a-kind.

"When I first looked at this insect I had no idea what it was," George Poinar, Jr., a professor Oregon State's College of Science said in a statement published in Phys.org.

"We had various researchers and reviewers, with different backgrounds, looking at this fossil through their own window of experience, and many of them saw something different."

Since it's the first of its kind, the researchers placed it under the order Hymenoptera (bees and wasp) and created a new taxonomic family of organisms to classify it --- Aptenoperissidae --- of which it is the only member, United Press International noted.

"We had various researchers and reviewers, with different backgrounds, looking at this fossil through their own window of experience, and many of them saw something different," Poinar said.

"If you focused on its strong hind legs you could call it a grasshopper. The antenna looked like an ant, the thick abdomen more like a cockroach. But the face looked mostly like a wasp, and we finally decided it had to be some kind of Hymenoptera."

The researchers said that the ancient species might have crawled on the ground and looked for crevices in trees where it can find food or lay its egg. They added that its inability to fly might have led to its extinction eventually.

Researchers published their complete findings in the journal Cretaceous Research.

 

 

 

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