German biologists have discovered a new species of ant that is possibly the oldest on the planet, the species dating back around 120 million years. Researchers fond the 3- millimeter-long insect in the on the Amazon Rainforest floor. 2007, and hope it will shed light on the early evolution of ants.
Scientists from also found an unidentified species of ant of a similar type in the Brazilian rainforest in 2003. However, due to an accident in the laboratory, the insect dried up and kind of died, making further research impossible. Not too long ago, forest researchers investigating fungus stumbled upon the tiny insect, and named it “Martialis heureka”. They are blind, as they spend most of their time underground, and are very aggressive.
It has a resemblence to a miniature wasp, making it very distinct from other ants. DNA tests are being run to confirm that this is the species of ant they are looking for. The last discovery of a new ant species was in 1923, and this one may be an excellent porthole into the early evolution of ants and insects in general.
My Fieldnote Friday will display the tree-climbing pictures!