Tags: amber | beetle | discovered | extinct

Amber Beetle: Tiny 99 Million-Year-Old Creature Discovered

Amber Beetle: Tiny 99 Million-Year-Old Creature Discovered

'Kekveus jason,' the tiny beetle at the very bottom, was discovered encased in amber. (Shuhei Yamamoto/Field Museum, fieldmuseum.org)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 June 2018 09:00 AM

Amber helped preserve a tiny beetle that dates back 99 million years, to the dinosaur era, and the discovery now changes what we know about the evolution of the now-extinct species.

The beetle, which has been named 'Kekveus jason,' measures 0.536-millimeters and was found to have feathery fringes on its wing, a function that allowed the creature to glide through the air, researchers at The Field Museum in Chicago explained in a recent study.

Scientists have linked the creature to the phylogenetic group Ptiliidae, which includes species of modern beetles that also have "featherwings," and the discovery shows that members of the species grew extremely small from as long ago as the mid-Cretaceous period, Newsweek noted.

If the beetle had not been preserved in amber, the likelihood of it being discovered is slim. However, sometimes the fossilized tree resin captures insects, plants and animals and preserves these ancient organisms.

Recently scientists discovered four spiders that were trapped in amber for 100 million years.

What made these creatures unique is that they had whip-like tails, a feature that has allowed researchers to establish a link between ancient and modern-day arachnids.

Larger specimens have also been immaculately preserved in amber, such as a 99-million-year-old dinosaurs tail, which was discovered by a Chinese paleontologist at a market in Myanmar.

"Jason" may not be as exquisite as a dinosaur's tail but the tiny beetle's discovery still has profound implications to scientists.

"This tiny beetle lived during the Cretaceous Period, it saw actual dinosaurs," said The Field Museum’s Shuhei Yamamoto, according to Newsweek.

"The amber the beetle was found in is like a time capsule."

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An amber-encased beetle that dates back 99 million years was recently discovered, shedding light on a long-extinct creature with feathery fringes.
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Wednesday, 13 June 2018 09:00 AM
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