Thursday, May 01, 2008


It doesn't quite have the same ring as 'Jurassic Park' but this piece of amber does conjure up the start of the movie.
This is an 87-million-year-old praying mantis found encased in amber in Japan. It came from an amber mine in the northeastern Iwate Prefecture in a deposit containing other insects such as flies, bees and cockroaches.

It measures 1.4 centimeters from its antennae to the tip of its abdomen and while the forelegs, head and antennae appear to be well preserved, the wings and abdomen have been crushed.
This mantis is the oldest ever found in Japan and one of only seven in the world from the Cretaceous period.

The fossil is unusual in that it has two spines protruding from its femur, something that no other mantis from the Cretaceous period has. It also has tiny hairs on its forelegs.
The late Cretaceous was a transition phase between ancient and modern worlds so the fossil has intermediate elements of ancient and modern mantises.

The block of amber is being polished to give researchers a better view of different parts of the fossil and will be on display at the Kuji museum through June.


Brian Hughes said...

I thought 'CRETACEOUS PARK' was where they reanimated Sedgwick.

JahTeh said...

No that was Bendigo Park where his rotten horse lost yesterday. Fortunately it was raining and I couldn't get to the tote.

Lord Sedgwick said...

Yum, looks like a post modernist creme caramel.

Well technically it ain't my horse (and after last night I don't want to have anything to do with him outside of a tin of 'Pal') he is owned by a syndicate of 4 f*t ladies who are old enough to know better.

As punishment I've obtained 4 tickets to 'The Footy Show' for them which includes a post show candle lit supper with Sam Newman.

Jayne said...

Found a huge pile of New Scientist mags at my local op shop yesterday...must have just missed Jahteh! :P

Middle Child said...

Wonderful stuff

JahTeh said...

Jayne, I did think of taking them there but after I'd torn out the bits I wanted they weren't fit. Surprising how fast science is moving these days, it was a eye-opener to go back and read the early ones.

Therese, that's the real deal amber not the ground up reconstituted stuff they sell these days.