Scary, Alien-Looking Insect Found Trapped In Amber

Posted: Jan 26 2017, 8:15am CST | by , Updated: Jan 26 2017, 8:43am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Scary, Alien-Looking Insect Found Trapped in Amber
Credit: Oregon State University
 

100-Million-year old E.T like insect species discovered in Myanmmar

Researchers have identified a unique insect specimen preserved in amber that is completely new to science. The insect bears an uncanny resemblance to the alien from 1982 sci-fi “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and its features are so unusual that researchers had to assign it to a new biological order Aetheocarinodea. And that happens rarely. 

“This insect has a number of features that just don’t match those of any other insect species that I know. 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.” George Poinar, a professor of entomology at Oregon State University said. He is one of the world's leading experts on plant and animal found preserved in amber pieces. 

The most unusual feature of the new species is its triangular head with bulging eyes, which would have given this species the ability to see almost 180 degrees by turning its head sideways.

“The strangest thing about this insect is that the head looked so much like the way aliens are often portrayed,” said Poinar. “With its long neck, big eyes and strange oblong head, I thought it resembled E.T.”

The insect, now named Aethiocarenus burmanicus, was probably an omnivore that used to eat a variety of food. It had a long, flat body with lean, long legs. Researchers suggest that those slender legs had allowed the creature to move swiftly across the surface.

The species was discovered in Myanmar and lived around 100 million years ago until it disappeared due to unknown reason. Habitat loss could be responsible for its extinction.

The new species is based on just two specimens. The other was also found trapped in Burmese amber. The insect would have been creeping through the ancient forests of what is now Myanmar when it succumbed to the sticky material of a coniferous tree.

There are about 1 million known species of insects and they are currently divided into 31 orders. Researchers had to place new species in a newly created order due to its unique features. 

The newfound species is just an example of a unique insect species. Million more are still to be discovered. 

 

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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