Oldest bug bonk | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

The –est

Oldest bug bonk

Preserved as fossils, two insects remain caught in the act 165 million years later

9:42am, November 9, 2013

In a fossil from the Middle Jurassic, a male froghopper (left) inserts his genitalia into the female (right).

In the Middle Jurassic, two insects called froghoppers (Anthoscytina perpetua) came together in a dance as old as time.

Before they had a chance to mate, death came knocking. The pair was buried and remained there for 165 million years, preserved as fossils described November 6 in PLOS ONE.

Researchers in China found the beautifully preserved specimen among 1,200 other fossils from a site in Inner Mongolia. The insects would have been easy to miss. Each body measures only 15–17 millimeters long. Caught in the act, the insects are in a mating position similar to that of modern froghoppers, showing that some things haven’t changed in 165 million years. 

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content