In Arkansas, an insect was accidentally discovered on the wall of a supermarket, the origin of which dates back to the Jurassic period
(ORDO NEWS) — Imagine: you go to the grocery store, you see a huge insect on the wall, and it is extremely rare, and scientists have never found it in the last 50 years.
And one American does not need to be introduced, because this story really happened to him.
For almost half a century, this insect was considered extinct.
In fact, this story happened back in 2012. Michael Squarl, then a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, went to the supermarket and saw a huge insect on the side of the building.
He did not immediately recognize him as a giant lacewing, so he gently grabbed him by the wings with his fingers and carried him home.
Initially, the insect was incorrectly identified: Squarl thought it was an antlion.
However, the students to whom he showed his find found some inconsistencies: its features do not match those of a predatory insect that looks like a dragonfly.
The wingspan of the found insect was 50 millimeters – this is too large an indicator for the average ant lion.
Giant lacewing lived with dinosaurs
Biologists analyzed the DNA of the found insect and came to the conclusion that in front of them is nothing more than a giant lacewing (Polystoechotes punctata), whose genus is rooted in the Jurassic period (from 201.3 to 145 million years ago).
It was thought to have disappeared from North America as early as the 1950s, but now there is hope for a relic population of a large Jurassic insect.
Scientists suggest that these insects have disappeared due to the increase in the use of artificial lighting, air pollution in cities and fighting wildfires in eastern North America.
Moreover, predators such as large ground beetles and earthworms may have altered the composition of the forest floor and soil, rendering the region unsuitable for lacewings.
And the question of how the giant lacewing ended up on the wall of the supermarket, and located under the scorching sun, is still open.
Contact us: [email protected]