HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY

 49 million-year-old beetle looks like it was squashed yesterday

                                                                         (Denver Museum of Nature and Science)

 

 

A beetle that lived about 49 million years ago is so well-preserved that the insect looks like it could spread its strikingly patterned wing coverings and fly away. That is, if it weren't squashed and fossilized.

Wing cases, or elytra, are one of the sturdiest parts of a beetle's exoskeleton, but even so, this level of color contrast and clarity in a fossil is exceptionally rare, scientists recently reported.

The beautiful design on the ancient beetle's elytra prompted researchers to name it Pulchritudo attenboroughi, or Attenborough's Beauty, after famed naturalist and television host Sir David Attenborough. They wrote in a new study that the pattern is "the most perfectly preserved pigment-based colouration known in fossil beetles."

 
 

 Full Story: LiveScience (8/14)

 

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