An international team of scientists has discovered the fossil of a species of fly belonging to a new, previously unknown family, in a piece of amber between 34 and 38 million years old old.
The insect was named Christelenka multiplex and belongs to a new family of the group ‘Acliptrees’fly-like organisms, pollinators and scavengers.
According to the scientists, the new specimen has unique morphological characteristics compared to other contemporary insects of the same family.
Identify a new species
As reported by the Biological Station of Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Spain, the specimen was discovered during the analysis of a sample of Baltic amber from the collection of German researchers Ch. & HW Hoffeinsof a forest that covered much of present-day northern Europe between 33.9 and 56 million years ago.
To identify this new species, scientists they examined the fossil trapped in amber under the light of a microscope and took macro photographs to be able to observe the details with more definition.
The newly discovered insect has unique characteristics no longer found in extant Acalyptratae. Credit: Jindřich Roháček et al.
Thereafter, as explained by the co-author of the study Viktor Baranovused advanced visualization techniques, such as X-ray microtomography based on synchrotron radiation, a technology that uses high-energy X-rays to build a three-dimensional image of the fossilized insect.
“The amber masks many of the most important features of the specimen that remains fossilized within, and traditional microscopy does not allow us to visualize them in detail,” Baranov said.
In the images obtained, the specimen exhibited a particular combination of morphological characters that were not related to any of the other families of the Acalyptratae group: “We were before a family never described before, which meant a very important and also very rare findnoted Baranov.
The scientists used various techniques to 3D map the new insect. Credit: CSIC.
The group to which this fly belonged seems to have flourished a lot 49 million years ago, at the beginning Eocene during the call climatic maximum, about 15 million years after the great Cretaceous extinctionpresumably caused by the fall of an asteroid that killed 75% of species on Earth, including dinosaurs.
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The discovery of the Christelenka multiplex provides new information on the evolutionary history of this group of pollinating insects and allows a better understanding of its role in modern ecosystems.
Their study was published in the journal Systematics and phylogeny of arthropods.
References: La Vanguardia / Clarín.
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