Fossil of a giant ant reveals new information


08/05/2011

Four paleontologists, including two experts from Simon Fraser University, discovered the fossil of a giant ant, a journey through the world of which sheds light on the events of global warming affected the distribution of the lives of about 50 million years ago.

The authors of the study described in detail the fossil of a new species of giant ant, which they called Titanomyrma lubei. This gigantic winged ant lived in the Eocene epoch, about 50 million years ago. The size of his body was more than five centimeters in length, which is comparable to the size of the bird hummingbirds, and competes only with the size of today’s monstrously big ant species in tropical Africa.

One of the researchers found an ant in a drawer at the Museum of Denver. He said: "It is surprising that this ant scurried in the ancient forest (now Alpine Wyoming), in which time the climate was hot like the modern tropics. Fact, all closely related fossil giant ants have been found in Europe and North America in the areas marked by a hot climate. "

The researchers also examined the habitat greatest modern ants and found that almost all live in the tropics, indicating something that need to live in hot temperatures, was related to the size of insects.

During the Eocene Epoch, a lot of plant and animal species have migrated to the area between Europe and North America through the endless Arctic land, connecting the two continents. But the mystery is how these ancient giant ants managed to get through a temperate climate of the Arctic Pole, too cold for them?

The researchers suspect that the key to unlocking a short but intense episodes of global warming that occurred around that time.

They seem to have had the occasional ability to survive in hot climates to move from continent to continent through Antarctica. Researchers call these short-term ability of the discovery of physiological gate to pass the physical earth bridge.

They note that this information will help scientists better understand the issue of the impact of global warming in life. They reported the following: "As soon as there are in the world of climate change, we see a tropical pest species are distributed in the mid-latitudes and dragonflies are beginning to appear in the Antarctic. Clear understanding of how different life forms adapted to global warming in the past, will have a huge value in the future. "

Original: Physorg Translation: M. Potter


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