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Alien-Like Insect Discovered by Scientists Is 100 Million Years Old

Science By

If you think there are too many bugs in the world, bad news. Scientists just found another one, and it’s really, really old.

Aethiocarenus burmanicus (Courtesy George Poinar)
Aethiocarenus burmanicus (Courtesy George Poinar)

This strange insect was found preserved in amber by researchers at Oregon State University, according to findings published in the journal Cretaceous Research. But this is no ordinary specimen: Its strange triangular head and “E.T.-like” appearance are so unusual that the insect was placed in its own scientific order, which is extremely rare.

“This insect has a number of features that just don’t match those of any other insect species that I know,” George Poinar, Jr., a professor at OSU College of Science, told the publication.

This new order is called Aethiocarenodea, and the species named Aethiocarenus burmanicus.

“I had never really seen anything like it. 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,” Poinar added.

The female insect has long legs with a flat body that allowed it to thrive in ancient Burmese forests. Long extinct, it’s possible that it lost its preferred habitat—but researchers say that when it was alive and thriving, it probably lived in the bark of trees, hunting for worms or fungi to eat while dinosaurs roamed nearby.

Learn more about Aethiocarenus burmanicus here.

RealClearLife Staff