According tomedia reports, The Cretaceous resin or amber fossils provide a fascinating view of the creatures that once lived on Earth but have long since disappeared. These animals include ticks that love the blood of dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathered tails, and mysterious thousand-footed worms that alter established evolutionary timelines. In addition to these fossils, there is a rare, 99 million-year-old fossil that shows a mysterious hell ant (haidomyrmecine) devouring a cockroach-like prey.
The study was carried out by researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NIJT), the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Rennes in France.
“Since the first Hell ant was unearthed about 100 years ago, it has been a mystery why these extinct animals are so different from our ants today,” said Phillip Barden, lead author of the study from NIJT. “
Barden and his team see this as an “evolutionary experiment” because the feeding mechanism is different from that of today’s ants, whose mouths move sideways. Instead, the Hell ant, which is believed to have disappeared 65 million years ago, has a vertical movement of its jaws. The team said this was the first direct evidence of hell ants using fang-like features in this way.
“Fossil behavior is extremely rare, especially predatory behavior,” Barden said. These fossils confirm our hypothesis about how the ant mouth works… In such an environment, the only way to catch prey is to move the ants up and down, in a different direction than all existing ants and almost all insects. “
The findings will help fill some gaps in early ants’ eating habits and how the species can survive for 20 million years. The team hopes to build on this work to find out what led to the extinction of some species and others that are still alive and thriving.
“More than 99 percent of species are extinct,” Barden said, “as our planet goes through its sixth mass extinction, it’s important that we try to understand the diversity of extinctions and what might keep some of the lineages alive when other species disappear.” I think insect fossils are a reminder that even a ubiquitous and well-known species like ants have gone extinct. “
The study has been published in Biology.