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Just north of the town of Gallup, New Mexico, is a hill of olive-colored sandstone. One late spring afternoon paleontologist Stephen Hasiotis walks up its grassy apron, crosses over onto bare rock, and loses his composure. Oh man, oh man, he mutters. Look at all this. He kneels by a stub of white rock—one of many—that just barely pushes through the darker stone around it. The rock looks as if someone had patiently modeled it before it hardened, some million years ago. And in fact, according to Hasiotis, someone did. Termites, he says. This was all done by termites. Originally this hill was a sand dune in a desert; when the climate turned damper, a stabilizing soil buried the dune and eventually formed a hard brown mudstone that now sits like a cap on top of the sandstone hill.
Early Cretaceous angiosperms and beetle evolution
most beetle fossils being from the Carabidae, Staphylinidae, Curculionidae and Dating discrepancies on the mammalian fossils, which opponents of the mammoth faunas come from lake cores, such as those collected for pollen analysis.
The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies.
In particular, it has been long debated whether the key event in the evolution of dung beetles Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae was an adaptation to feeding on dinosaur or mammalian dung. Here we present molecular evidence to show that the origin of dung beetles occurred in the middle of the Cretaceous, likely in association with dinosaur dung, but more surprisingly the timing is consistent with the rise of the angiosperms. We hypothesize that the switch in dinosaur diet to incorporate more nutritious and less fibrous angiosperm foliage provided a palatable dung source that ultimately created a new niche for diversification.
Given the well-accepted mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, we examine a potential co-extinction of dung beetles due to the loss of an important evolutionary resource, i. Given the inferred age of Scarabaeinae as originating in the Lower Cretaceous, the major radiation of dung feeders prior to the Cenomanian, and the early divergence of both African and Gondwanan lineages, we hypothesise that that faunal exchange between Africa and Gondwanaland occurred during the earliest evolution of the Scarabaeinae.
The orchid family has some 28, species — more than double the number of bird species and quadruple the mammal species. New Delhi: A 45 million to 55 million-year-old orchid fossil has been discovered by scientists that they believe is the oldest known. The new discovery has surpassed the earlier record, set when the last orchid fossil was found dating back million-years-old in Dominican amber.
Orchids have their pollen in small sac-like structures called pollinia, which are attached by supports to viscidia, or adhesive pads, that can stick to the various body parts of pollinating insects, including bees, beetles, flies and gnats.
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Newfound fossils hint that flowering plants arose million years earlier than scientists previously thought, suggesting flowers may have existed when the first known dinosaurs roamed Earth, researchers say. Flowering plants are now the dominant form of plant life on land, evolving from relatives of seed-producing plants that do not flower, such as conifers and cycads.
Flowering plants, or angiosperms, became the dominant plants about 90 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. However, the exact time when these plants originated remains hotly debated. Now, scientists have unearthed ancient pollen grains with microscopic features typically seen in flowering plants. Before the bees Pollen grains are small, robust and numerous. This makes them easier to find in the fossil record than comparably large and fragile leaves and flowers. After analyzing the structure of these grains, the researchers suggested that the associated plants were pollinated by insects — most likely beetles, as bees did not evolve until about million years later.
Six different types of pollen were found in the ancient samples, revealing that flowering plants back then may have been considerably diverse.
Improved labelling needed to aid application of bio-pesticides says researcher
E Corresponding author. Email: joe. The ubiquitous and highly diverse element Australian Acacia makes an ideal candidate for investigating a range of questions about the evolution of the flora of continental Australia. In the past, such efforts have been hampered by a lack of well-supported phylogenies and by the relatively poor macrofossil record, which probably reflects the depositional environment in which Acacia species are predominantly found.
However, the broader subfamily Mimosoideae offers several reliably age-constrained fossils that can be used as calibrations in divergence-dating analyses of DNA sequence data. In addition, the microfossil pollen record of Acacia is relatively rich and provides a good age constraint for the entire Acacia clade.
absolute dating of the Wisconsinan deposits in Midcontinental North P,rican fossil beetle sites . 3. 2. Pollen and plant macrofossil studies from a number of.
He’s Australian, around half a centimetre long, fairly nondescript, million years old, and he’s currently causing astonishment among both entomologists and palaeontologists. The discovery of a beetle from the late Permian period, when even the dinosaurs had not yet appeared on the scene, is throwing a completely new light on the earliest developments in this group of insects. The reconstruction and interpretation of the characteristics of Ponomarenkia belmonthensis was achieved by Prof.
They have published this discovery together with beetle researcher Dr John Lawrence and Australian geologist Dr Robert Beattie in the current issue of the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. It was Beattie who discovered the only two known fossilised specimens of the beetle in former marshland in Belmont, Australia. They exhibit a whole series of primitive characteristics, such as wing cases elytra that had not yet become completely hardened or a body surface densely covered with small tubercles.
In contrast, the species that has now been discovered, assigned to the newly introduced family Ponomarenkiidae, can be identified as a modern beetle, in spite of its remarkable age.
Trapped in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber, a Beetle With Pilfered Pollen
While anthropogenic climate change may be one force driving the current episode, paleoenvironmental records indicate that this drought is not unique in the history of the region. Deeper paleoenvironmental patterns must be reconstructed using other evidence. The Rancho La Brea RLB Tar Pits in southern California offers a wealth of fossils that can shed light on how the local environment has changed through time and these reach much further back than human records.
Leading the project, Anna Holden, Ph. Though there is an abundance of insect material in the RLB deposit, this potential source of data has seen little use.
Paleontology and Fossils. Fossils of mammoths, horses, bison, trees, beetles, various marine life, and a prehistoric beaver dam have all been found. Researchers have found pollen cores at Imuruk Lake that date back , years. dinosaur footprints and fossils of marine animals dating back million years ago.
More convincing evidence of insectoid pollinators dates back million years, to the Middle Jurassic, in the form of fossilized scorpionflies, who likely used their long proboscis to pollinate non-flowering plants. Indeed, a fascinating aspect about early pollinating insects is that they were paired with non-flowering plants gymnosperms , rather than flowering plants angiosperms. Evidence for early pollination is sparse, which is why this new study is so exciting. The new research , published today in Current Biology, is providing the earliest unambiguous fossil evidence of the relationship between gymnosperms and insects.
The pollen is from an unusual group of evergreen gymnosperms known as cycads, which, as this discovery suggests, could represent an early, or even the first, insect-pollinated group of plants. This Beetle belonged to the boganiid family, which are exceptionally rare in the fossil record, but are known pollinators of cycads. But pollen grains are also rare, as they are very tiny and can only be found using powerful microscopes after careful preparation. What is more fascinating is that, after we did some preparation of the sole amber piece—cutting, trimming and polishing—under high-magnification compound microscopy, we found many tiny pollen grains by the side of the beetle.
This type of pollen only belongs to cycads—and the beetle and pollen matched!
Since Charles Darwin, insect pollination was thought to be a key contributor to the Cretaceous rise of flowering plants angiosperms. Both insects and flowering plants were common during the mid-Cretaceous epoch, but physical evidence for Cretaceous insect pollination of flowering plants was until now absent. An international team of paleontologists from the United States and China has now found an ancient beetle with pollen grains still stuck to its legs trapped in a million-year-old piece of Burmese amber.
Ecological reconstruction of tumbling flower beetles Angimordella burmitina.
Late Quaternary pollen, plant macrofossils, and insect fossils were studied from sites along three rivers in the dating by the fission-track method, and yielded a pre-Quater- arctic rove beetle, Tachinus brevipennis, as well as elytra of.
Beetles, the most successful group of invertebrates on Earth, have a worldwide distribution and an outstanding fossil record. In addition, they are well known as inclusions in fossil resin. In historical studies of fossil material, specimens were often named and described without placing the taxa in an ecological context. However, the research philosophy for fossil beetles has changed over the past few years.
In this article, we summarize the palaeoecological interpretations of fossil beetles from Cretaceous ambers, which includes species from 69 families, most of which were described during the last 3 years. By analysing current habits of those families, we argue that saproxylicity was the most common feeding strategy for these fossil beetles. More specifically, fungivorous species appear to dominate. In contrast, we find only anecdotal evidence for the presence of wood-boring groups, and it is thus necessary to identify alternative abiotic or biotic processes that are responsible for the copious resin production at this time.
Finally, the recent description of some beetles as gymnosperm pollinators during the Cretaceous lends more weight to the importance of amber studies in addressing the role of beetles in the evolution of pollination strategies. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in.
99-Million-Year-Old Flower Beetle with Pollen Grains on Its Legs Found Encased in Amber
Paleontology is the study of ancient life forms—ferns, fish, dinosaurs , rocks , climates, continents—mainly through examination of fossils. Fossils are the remains of any organism preserved in rock formed when mud, sand, silt, lime deposits or volcanic ash cover up an animal or plant before turning to stone. Fossils are a non-renewable resource that teaches us about our earth’s history.
of fossil beetles that have been preserved in amber from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and flowers for pollen and nectar and consequently serve as pollinators and Burmese amber based on U–Pb dating of zircons.
Angiosperms and their insect pollinators form a foundational symbiosis, evidence for which from the Cretaceous is mostly indirect, based on fossils of insect taxa that today are anthophilous, and of fossil insects and flowers that have apparent anthophilous and entomophilous specializations, respectively. We present exceptional direct evidence preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber, mya, for feeding on pollen in the eudicot genus Tricolporoidites by a basal new aculeate wasp, Prosphex anthophilos , gen.
Plume of hundreds of pollen grains wafts from its mouth and an apparent pollen mass was detected by micro-CT in the buccal cavity: clear evidence that the wasp was foraging on the pollen. Eudicots today comprise nearly three-quarters of all angiosperm species.
Oldest orchid fossil dating back 45-55 million-years-old discovered!
Beetle parasites clinging to a primitive bee million years ago may have caused the flight error that, while deadly for the insect, is a boon for science today. The mid-Cretaceous fossil from Myanmar provides the first record of a primitive bee with pollen and also the first record of the beetle parasites, which continue to show up on modern bees today. Insect pollinators aid the reproduction of flowering plants around the globe and are also ecologically critical as promoters of biodiversity. Bees evolved from apoid wasps, which are carnivores.
Comparative AMS 14C dating of plant macrofossils, beetles and pollen preparations from two late pleistocene sites in southeastern Australia.
View exact match. Display More Results. This technique, which is used in establishing relative chronologies as well as in environmental archaeology, was developed primarily as a technique for the relative dating of natural horizons. Pollen grains are produced in vast quantities by all plants, especially the wind-pollinated tree species. The outer skin exine of these grains is remarkably resistant to decay, and on wet ground or on a buried surface, it will be preserved, locked in the humus content.
The pollen grains of trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers are preserved in either anaerobic conditions or in acid soils. Samples can be taken from the deposits by means of a core or from individual layers at frequent intervals in a section face on an archaeological site. The pollen is extracted and then concentrated and stained and examined under a microscope. Pollen grains are identifiable by their shape, and the percentages of the different species present in each sample are recorded on a pollen diagram.
A comparison of the pollen diagrams for different levels within a deposit allows the identification of changes in the percentages of species and thus changes in the environment. As a dating technique, pollen has been used to identify different zones of arboreal vegetation which often correspond to climatic changes. The technique is invaluable for disclosing the environment of early man’s sites and can even, over and series of samples, reveal man’s influence on his environment by, for example, forest clearance.
The sediments most frequently investigated are peat and lake deposits, but the more acid soils, such as podsols, are also analyzed. Radiocarbon dates may be taken at intervals in the sequence, and it is possible to reconstruct the history of vegetation in the area around the site where the samples were taken.
Tar pit clues provide ice age news
We discuss 14 C dating of plant macrofossils from different contexts and consider the various complicating effects of the history of the samples on the 14 C measurement. Late Quaternary chronologies are commonly constructed using AMS 14 C dating of plant macrofossils, because they are generally argued to provide the most reliable chronology. Although plant macrofossils are often relatively abundant and well preserved in a variety of site type, they are still potentially subject to a range of complications.
Be they terrestrial or aquatic, plant macrofossils are prone to absorb CO 2 of mixed origin during photosynthesis, to be reworked, contaminated by dissolved organic carbon and by modern carbon due to inappropriate storage and analysis. They can also be potentially impacted by measurement effects relating to small sample sizes.
We will overview different macrofossils here, in dry and then humid environments, will give few notes on insects and invertebrates commonly retrieved besides plant macrofossils and finally, we will highlight good practices in the laboratory.
Although the perceived advantages of dating pollen preparations (ubiquity and that both beetle and plant macrofossils give more comparable and potentially.
By Ian Randall For Mailonline. The earliest-known example of a pollinating insect has been found preserved in amber dating back to around 99 million years ago, researchers report. The fossilised tumbling flower beetle was found with pollen still stuck to its legs preserved in amber from deep inside a mine in northern Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley. The find pushes back the earliest-documented instance of insect pollination to around 50 million years earlier than previously thought.
The preserved insect is a newly discovered species of beetle which researchers have named Angimordella burmitina. The earliest-known example of a pollinating insect, pictured, has been found preserved in amber dating back to around 99 million years ago, researchers report. Pictured, an artist’s impression of the beetle.
This, he added, was when ‘a true exposition of flowering plants occurred. Professor Dilcher and colleagues analysed the 62 pollen grains found with the beetle preserved in the amber — finding that they had evolved specifically to be spread through contact with such insects. Pictured, an artists impression of the beetle. The preserved insect — seen here in its amber prison — is a newly discovered species of beetle which researchers have named Angimordella burmitina.
The insect trapped in the amber is a newly discovered species of beetle, which the study’s authors have named ‘Angimordella burmitina’. The age of the new fossil was determined by correlation with the ages of other known fossils in the same location from which the fossilised beetle was discovered.