Fossilized dinosaur poop contains new insect species

Discovering fossilized insects is difficult, but a new find suggests a unique place to look.

Qvarnström et al., Current Biology, 2021
  • A new study demonstrates that dinosaur dung may contain fossilized insects unknown to science.
  • The newly discovered bug, Triamyxa coprolithica, is a new species that shares a family with many modern aquatic beetles.
  • The dinosaur that ate the bug 230 million years ago, Silesaurus, was a two-meter-long omnivore.
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​Researchers breed a fungus that kills mites to save bees

Researchers develop a fungus that kills mites that contribute to honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder.

Credit: BigBlueStudio/Adobe Stock
  • Honeybee colony collapse is due in part to Varroa mites that weaken honey bee immune systems.
  • Chemicals that were once effective against the mites are no longer working as well.
  • Researchers are stepping in with a newly cultured fungus that goes after the mites without bothering the bees.
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CRISPR gives mosquitos contagious infertility

Could this spell the end for mosquitos?

Researchers have used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to target a specific gene tied to fertility in male mosquitoes.

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First-of-its-kind flower smells like dead insects

Life finds a way — in this case, by smelling like death.

Credit: T. Rupp, B. Oelschlägel, K. Rabitsch et al.
  • Many plants use some kind of mimicry to attract pollinators.
  • After bees, flies are the second most important pollinator on the planet.
  • Plants that emit smelly odors usually try to mimic dead vertebrates, but Aristolochia microstoma is the first known plant to smell like dead insects.
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Credit: Alexey Protasov / Adobe Stock
  • Charles Darwin speculated that wingless insects thrived on windy islands because they weren't blown off the land.
  • While the reasoning was slightly faulty, researchers have now proved Darwin's 165-year-old "wind hypothesis."
  • This finding is yet another example of how environments shape the animals that inhabit them.
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