Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Praying Mantis Missing Link

Found Via National Geographic:

A praying mantis trapped in amber that was found in Japan in January 2008 dates back 87 million years, to the late Cretaceous period.

Researchers say the mantis, one of only seven in the world from this geologic period, displays unique features that may mean it is a "missing link" between the ancient insects and their modern counterparts.

"Modern mantises have a series of spines—maybe five or six—on their forelegs, to help them catch prey," Ueda said.

"The American Museum of Natural History has told us that no mantis from the Cretaceous period has ever been found with spines"—but the new specimen has two such spines protruding from its femur.

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