OSU researcher discovers ancient ET like insect frozen in amber

3,110
3
Posted by The King Slayer 2 years ago in News
COPY
COPY
Story Continues Below

Researchers have discovered a 100-million-year-old insect preserved in amber - and it looks a lot like ET. Its features are so odd and unique that researchers placed in into a new scientific order of insects. There are already about 1 million known species of insects on Earth and more that have yet to be discovered, and every species of insect has been placed in 31 existing orders - but now there's a new one. The newly discovered insect (pictured left) bares a striking resemblance to ET (pictured right) Dr George Poinar Jr, an emeritus professor of entomology at Oregon State University and a world leading expert on animals and plants found in amber, examined the insect found in the semi-precious stone. 'This insect has a number of features that just don’t match those of any other insect species that I know. 'I had never really seen anything like it. It appears to be unique in the insect world, and after considerable discussion we decided it had to take its place in a new order.' The insect has a triangular head and bulging eyes, which is different from any other known species of insect. The eyes on the side of its head would have given it the ability to see at almost 180 degrees by simply turning its head to the side. Because of its uniqueness, the insect was assigned its own brand new scientific classification order - called Aethiocarenodea. The eyes on the side of its head would have given it the ability to see at almost 180 degrees by simply turning its head to the side The insect has been named Aethiocarenus burmanicus, in reference to the Hukawng Valley mines of Myanmar – previously known as Burma – where it was found. Only one other specimen of this species has been found, and it's also preserved in Burmese amber. The findings, published in the journal Cretaceous Research, describe the small, wingless female insect as having probably lived in fissures in the bark of trees. It looked for mites, worms or fungi to eat while dinosaurs would have been wandering by. The insect, which was probably an omnivore, had a long, narrow, flat body with long thing legs and could have moved quickly and seen behind itself. It had gland on its neck that secreted a chemical that researches think may have repelled predators. Aethiocarenus burmanicus had glands on its neck (pictured) that secreted a chemical researchers think may have repelled predators The new order Aethiocarenodea only has two specimens of this same species. By contrast, the largest order on insects, Coleoptera for beetles, has hundreds of thousands of species. The ET look-a-like species from 100 million years ago is went extinct long ago, likely due to loss of its preferred habitat, which were the forests of Burma. 'The strangest thing about this insect is that the head looked so much like the way aliens are often portrayed,' Dr Poinar said. 'With its long neck, big eyes and strange oblong head, I thought it resembled ET. 'I even made a Halloween mask that resembled the head of this insect. 'But when I wore the mask when trick-or-treaters came by, it scared the little kids so much I took it off.'

Click to View or Post Comments Hide Comments