The unique insect has legs of grasshopper and abdomen like coackroach
Scientists have discovered an insect unlike any other ever found, one that has legs like grasshopper, antennae like ants and abdomen more like a cockroach.
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The specimen, which is incredibly well-preserved, has been found trapped in amber and is estimated to be 100 years old. Researchers believe that this ancient insect probably had the most weird way of producing its offspring. They speculate that it used to crawl along the ground to find pupae of other insects and laid its eggs in them. The wasp has borrowed parts of its anatomy from a range of other insects and this is most likely the reason behind its unusual appearance.
“When I first looked at this insect I had no idea what it was. You could see it's tough and robust, and could give a painful sting.” Co-author George Poinar Jr from Oregon State University, who is one of the leading experts in plants and animal fossil found preserved in amber said.
The insect is a female and has been recovered from Hukawng Valley in Myanmar – a site considered as one of the richest deposits of Cretaceous fossil on Earth. Despite its strong and sturdy body, the wasp could not survive and became extinct.
The appearance of the insect is so unusual that it took researchers a considerable time to determine its taxonomy. Eventually, they declared that the insect belongs to an entire new family. The insect named Aptenoperissus burmanicus is currently the only known specimen of the family.
“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,” said Poinar.
“We ultimately had to create a new family for it, because it just didn’t fit anywhere else. And when it died out, this created an evolutionary dead end for that family.”