Newborn insects trapped in amber show first evidence of how to crack an egg

Newborn insects trapped in amber show first evidence of how to crack an egg

by University of Oxford, Geology Page

Fossilised newborns, egg shells, and egg bursters preserved together in amber provide the first direct evidence of how insects hatched in deep time, according to a new article published today in the journal Palaeontology.

One of the earliest and toughest trials that all organisms face is birth. The new findings give scientists evidence on how tiny insects broke the barrier separating them from life and took their first steps into an ancient forest.

Trapped together inside 130 million-year-old Lebanese amber, or fossilised resin, researchers found several green lacewing newborn larvae, the split egg shells from where they hatched, and the minute structures the hatchlings used to crack the egg, known as egg bursters. The discovery is remarkable because no definitive evidence of these specialised structures had been reported from the fossil record of egg-laying animals, until now.

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