About 100 million years ago, a tiny beetle flew into a coniferous tree and became engulfed in its resin.
Though the tree fell to ruin in a time long forgotten, a drop of its resin fossilized into amber—with the beetle fully encased—and then survived the relentless ravages of time, resulting in one of the most spectacularly preserved ancient beetle specimens yet described.
First discovered in Myanmar, the rare fossil is now in the hands of international experts who are thrilled that it has managed to remain so exquisitely intact after almost a million centuries of existence.
« For a beetle taxonomist and for the entomological community as a whole, this is an exciting discovery, » said Michael Caterino, the director of the Clemson University Arthropod Collection. « This is an extraordinary 99 million-year-old fossil in Burmese amber. We can see all the details of the external sculpturing of the wing covers and the head. We can see the mouth parts, which enable us to predict that this was a predator much like it’s modern relatives. And it has a lot of tantalizing characteristics that we hypothesized early members of this family had. But we no longer have to guess. Now we can confirm. »