Researchers discover ‘alien-looking’ insect trapped in amber

Researchers discover ‘alien-looking’ insect trapped in amber

A recently discovered alien-looking fossilized insect is so strange that it not only required to be named as a new species, but also to be placed under a new scientific order, researchers reported.

The alien-looking tiny insect with a strange head and long skinny legs crawled around on trees in a region what is now known as Burma nearly 100 million years ago, in the time of the huge dinosaurs.

Dr. George Poinar, an emeritus professor of entomology at Oregon State University (OSU), said, “The strangest thing about this insect is that the head looked so much like the way aliens are often portrayed. With its long neck, big eyes and strange oblong head, I thought it resembled E.T.”

A team of OSU researchers discovered the alien-looking specimen in semi-precious stone amber. The ancient insect had a triangular head, and so unusual features that researchers called it “incredibly rare” discovery.

Poinar said he had never seen anything like this strange creature in his whole career. As it couldn’t be placed in any of the 31 existing scientific orders, a new order was created for it.

The discovery of the alien-looking critter from the past, which is now extinct, was reported in a recent issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.

“This insect has a number of features that just don’t match those of any other insect species that I know,” said Dr. Poinar, said. “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.”

A report by CS Monitor informed, "Despite almost one million different types of insects living on Earth, all fit into the 31 pre-existing orders. A. burmanicus brings that number up to 32. Many scientists believe that the still-undiscovered insect species outnumber those that have already been named."

The strange-looking creature has long legs and antenna similar to many insects that roam the Earth today. But this critter has a bizarrely oriented, triangular head that is reminiscent of Stephen Spielberg's "E.T."

The research paper informed..

An exotic wingless female insect in mid-Cretaceous Myanmar amber is described as Aethiocarenus burmanicus sp. et gen. nov. in the order Aethiocarenodea ord. nov. and family Aethiocarenidae fam. nov. The distinguishing feature of Aethiocarenus burmanicus sp. et gen. nov. is its unique head, the dorsum of which is shaped like an isosceles right triangle with the hypotenuse at the top and vertex positioned at the base of the neck. While insects with triangular-shaped heads are common today, the hypotenuse of the triangle is always located at the base of the head and attached to the neck, with the vertex at the apex of the head.

Tags: 
Category: