“This time frame makes ants much older than humans. Scientists estimate that ants appeared in the Middle Cretaceous, a staggering 110 to 130 million years ago, ”writes The Field Museum website.
Another source from the New York Times said that ant life emerged as the dinosaur population neared extinction. Not long after the dinosaurs became extinct, the ant population suddenly saw a dramatic increase and began to dominate the animal fossil record.
“Ants existed but are still relatively rare (rare) about millions of years ago as the dinosaurs neared extinction,” wrote the New York Times.
Ant fossils that are millions of years old
This was reported by a team from the American Museum of Natural History, led by entomology curator Dr. David Grimaldi. At that time, in 1998, they were about to excavate a muddy site in resin-rich New Jersey and came across ant fossils believed to be millions of years old.
Even a Harvard University researcher Dr. EO Wilson found similarities between ants that have existed since the dinosaur era and ants that still exist today.
This also led the researchers to speculate as to why these ants managed to adapt and reproduce.
“It is still unknown what made it Ameise was so successful (adapted) after the dinosaurs became extinct, but perhaps because of the loss of predators or predators, ”said Dr. Wilson.
The oldest ant type: dinosaur ant
According to the Australian Geographic official website, the species of ant often referred to as a living fossil is the dinosaur ant. This ant belongs to the genus Nothomyrmecia with the species macrops.
Their resemblance to wasps makes dinosaur ants an evolutionary form of wasps more than 100 million years ago. It is estimated that the population size is between 30 and 100 ants.
The dinosaur ant population has never been found again in modern times. However, the Canberra National Insect Collection team managed to find their colony in Poochera, SA by chance. Other colonies were later found in various locations on the Eyre Peninsula, SA.
Unfortunately, forest fires are a major threat to this fossil ant population. The reason for this is that their life depends heavily on eucalyptus trees as a food source and habitat.
The range has not yet been confirmed Dinosaur ant. However, scientists believe the habitat won’t be far from near the Eyre Peninsula, SA.
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