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Predatory cockroach from dinosaur era found trapped in amber

This exotic, praying-mantis-like cockroach that lived at the same time as dinosaurs was caught in amber about 100 million years ago. It is part of a new family of extinct predatory cockroaches that hunted at night.

Predatory cockroach from dinosaur era found trapped in amber
Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype 
SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) 
from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber[Credit: Geologica Carphatica, 
doi:10.1515/geoca-2015-0015]
Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, who examined the insect, say its long neck, which allows the head to rotate freely, and unusually long legs, suggest that it actively pursued prey. The fossilised insect, called Manipulator modificaputis, was discovered at a mine in Noije Bum, Myanmar.

During the early Cretaceous period when it lived, several predatory cockroach-like lineages evolved. Only one group survives today: the praying mantises, which have similar front legs to the fossil, and are closely related to cockroaches.

The specimen is one of dozens of preserved insects found in the area, making it the most important site of dinosaur-age amber in the world, says Vršanský. Many large pieces of amber contained complete adult insects, which should help reconstruct the history of the animals and their ecosystem.

Author: Mico Tatalovic | Source: New Scientist [May 02, 2015]
TANN

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