Museum Scientists Find Three Prehistoric Tiny Insects Frozen in Amber

Photomicrographs of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy. The gall mites were named: Triasacarus fedelei, left, and Ampezzoa triassica. AP Photo/A. Schmidt, University of Göttingen, Proceedings of the National Academy.

Scientists have found three well preserved ancient insects frozen in amber — and time — in what is Earth’s oldest bug trap.

The discoveries of amber-encased insects in Italy may sound like something out of “Jurassic Park” but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest critters trapped in fossilized tree resin, or amber.

Gooey tree resin is like sap but without water and can’t be diluted.

Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a tad tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.

You can read the full article via ArtDaily here.

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