The giant predator marine insects that lived about 20 million years ago leap from underground tunnels into the sea floor to ambush their prey, revealing new fossils from Taiwan.
These monster insects may be the modern bobet insects of the trap ancestors (Eunice Approditois), Which also hide in the burr below the sea level and can be up to 10 feet (3 m) long. Researchers recently reported in a new study that based on fossil evidence from Taiwan, the ancient worms’ lights were L-shaped and about 7 feet (2 m) long and 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 centimeters) long. Were measured
The tender bodies of such ancient vermis are hardly preserved in the fossil record. But scientists found traces of fossils, also known as trace fossils, left behind by insects; Some of these marks were likely because they pulled the prey to its doom. Researchers collected hundreds of these impressions to rebuild the worm tunnel, the earliest known trace fossil of a predecessor, according to the study.
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Bobbit worms are polyshet, or bristle worms, which have been around since early times Cambrian period (About 543 million to 490 million years ago), and their hunting habits were fast and “spectacular”, the scientists wrote. Modern bobbit insects build long tunnels to accommodate their bodies; They hide inside and then go out to hunt among their jawans, hunting the struggling creature in the underground to eat. This “panic from below” pierces its prey with grasping and piercing pins – sometimes cutting them in half – then injecting toxins to make the prey easier to digest: According to the smithsonian ocean.
Researchers examined 319 fossil tunnel traces in northeast Taiwan; From these traces, he reconstructed long, narrow boats made by long-stemmed modern boobet worms. According to the study, preserved details in the rock have hinted at how ancient predatory insects could use these stairs.
The study authors reported, “We estimate that about 20 million years ago, on the southeastern border of the Eurasian continent, ancient bobet insects colonized seafloor in ambush for a passing meal”. The worms “burst” from their prey when the prey came closer, “catching and dragging prey under the sediment. Under the seafloor, desperate prey swelled to escape, causing further disturbances of sediment around the burger opening,” the scientists wrote . .
As ancient insects retreated deeper into their tunnel with vigorous prey, the conflict aroused sedimentation, creating “distinctive feather-like collapse structures” that were preserved in trace fossils. Researchers also unearthed iron-rich pockets in turbulent areas near the top of the tunnels; This possibility appeared after reinforcing damaged walls with layers of viscous mucus.
Although no fossil remains of the insect were found, scientists identified a new gene and species, Penichanus formosse, To describe ancient animals, based on the distinctive forms of their turret.
Potential behavior that makes the tunnel “records life and death conflicts between hunters and prey, and indirectly preserves evidence [a] The authors of the study point out that more diverse and stronger paleo-ecosystems can be interpreted than fossil and trace fossil records.
The findings were published online 21 January in the journal Scientific report.
Originally published on Live Science.