Well, we have to admit it. We have a weakness for animals preserved in amber. Especially if they have been there for a few years. And when we say a few years, we mean, for example, 41 million years. And if they had been preserved in a compromising situation … you couldn't ask for more. This happened with the insects that were caught in full copulation in Australia.
They are the fossils of some copulating insects that lived 41 million years ago. It has been found among many other paleontological pieces by Anglesea Bernstein. It is a remote region of what is now Australia.
The fresh resin acts as a trap for insects that touch it and quickly devour it. Usually the agony is short. In this way, the insects are preserved, which shows their behavior. Does anyone remember what happened to the people of Pompeii?
look in the past
«The pair of discovered copulating insects shows the typical end-to-end position. The genital appendages are in contact, so there is no doubt. "Enrique Peñalver from the Institute of Geosciences and Prospective Research of the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute (IGME) explained this.
Peñalver is co-author of the finding as a member of a team. It consists of scientists from Complutense University and Monash University. In the IGME bulletin, he mentions that amber exceptionally preserves even very small arthropods with a size of one millimeter or less like mites. Our understanding of the biological diversity and ecology of old forest ecosystems is therefore very detailed. The types of information are different because this material also provides rare indications of paleo behavior. Such as the pairs of insects in copulation.
The research has been published in scientific reports. The field research began in 2011. It underlines the relevance of the Australian and New Zealand Triassic amber as a mechanism for the extraordinary conservation of old, little known terrestrial ecosystems. Thanks to amber, we look into the past. As voyeurs. And what do we see? Insects caught in amber, of course, in full copulation.