An ancient wingless wasp that lived during the Cretaceous Era was was recently discovered trapped in amber. The weird creature is unlike any insect known to scientists. It had the body of a cockroach, the legs of a grasshopper, the antenna of an ant and the face of a wasp.
Credit: Photo by George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University
Scientists have recently discovered a mysterious, 100-million-year-old insect trapped in amber — and as far as anyone knows, it is unlike any other insect that has ever lived on Earth.
The weird insect, called Aptenoperissus burmanicus, is a mash-up of many other creatures: It has the face of a wasp but no wings, the legs of a grasshopper, the antenna of an ant and the body of a cockroach.
"When I first looked at this insect, I had no idea what it was," study co-author George Poinar Jr., a professor emeritus at Oregon State University,said in a statement. "You could see it's tough and robust, and could give a painful sting. We ultimately had to create a new family for it, because it just didn't fit anywhere else. And when it died out, this created an evolutionary dead end for that family," added Poinar, who is one of the world's leading experts on fossils preserved in amber. [In Photos: Amber Preserves Cretaceous Lizards]