Primeval tree parasites
The two mites are two different species from the group of gall mites. These arachnids still feed on plant matter today, often producing abnormal growth in the form of bile on their host plants. The fossil gall mites are surprisingly similar to today's: 230 million years ago, all the typical features were already present. "This group must therefore be much older than previously thought, " says Schmidt. Almost all today's Gallmilbenarten feed on flowering plants. However, the two primeval mites existed already 100 million years before the appearance of this group of plants. The representatives of the Triassic apparently lived as parasites on coniferous trees. "This shows that gall mites are able to exploit the prevalent plants and have developed together with their host plants, " commented co-author David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The third amber inclusion is the trace of a two-winged insect, ie an insect. Unfortunately, a more accurate assignment is not possible because most parts of the body are not fully preserved. The fossil shows, however, that insects in unusually old amber may be included, the researchers say. In the noble stones so many more secrets could sleep. "After the largest mass extinction of the Earth's history at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago, there were major changes in the flora and fauna in the subsequent Triassic, " explains Schmidt. For the understanding of evolution, the time of the Triassic is therefore particularly important. The amber finds can open windows into this era, say the scientists. displayAlexander Schmidt (University of Göttingen and his colleagues) et al .: PNAS, doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1208464109 © science.de? Martin Vieweg