An interesting find by a group of researchers has revealed an alien-like insect belonging to the Dinosaur-era. The insect, which caught researchers’ attention because of its alien-like appearance, was found preserved in amber. For the uninitiated, amber is a hard translucent fossilized resin originating from extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period, typically yellowish in color. A close inspection of the remains of the insect has further revealed features resembling E.T.

image source: techtimes

Researchers assign the insect to new order

Owing to unique features, the species has been assigned to newly created order Aethiocarenodea, the 32nd classification of groups of insects. The species, which has been given the name “Aethiocarenus burmanicus” is interesting in many ways. For one, the dorsum is shaped like an isosceles right triangle with the hypotenuse at the top and vertex positioned at the base of the neck. Insects with triangular-shaped heads are common today but the hypotenuse is always at the base of the head with vertex at the top. The recently discovered remains of the insect have a dorsum whose shape isn’t like any of the insects known so far. “Other features of the fossil are the long narrow, flat body, long slender legs, especially the hind pair that are twice the length of the abdomen, lack of wings, protruding eyes, paired ocelli, secretory glands located on the dorsum of the neck and swollen abdomen bearing paired segmented cerci”, noted the researchers, whose finding has been published in Cretaceous Research.

Omnivore insect protected itself by secreting chemicals

Researchers think that the insect was an omnivore that secreted a chemical to drive away predators. With flat body and long slender legs, the insect may have been able to move around quickly and defend itself from other insects. The unique features of the insect and the alien-like appearance has intrigued researchers. “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,” said study author George Poinar Jr. from Oregon State University.


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