Researchers Find A Preserved 12-Million-Year-Old Praying Mantis

We all remember the scene in the original Jurassic Park where dinosaur DNA was removed from a prehistoric mosquito stuck in amber. It’s perhaps the one thing that we all think about when we see pictures of insects stuck in amber – at least that is where my mind always goes to.

This one piece of amber doesn’t have a mosquito in it, but a praying mantis. The piece of amber was quite translucent and pale yellow in color, so it perfectly showed off the 12-million-year-old that was perfectly preserved inside.

The amber was clear enough to make out the mantis’s distinguishing triangular head and bulging eyes. It even had a striking pose from within the tree resin.

Amber is formed through a process of molecular polymerization. First, high pressures and temperatures that are composed of overlying sediment cause the resin to turn into copal. Then, sustained heat and pressure rebuff terpenes. The result of this is the formation of amber.

This particular piece of mantis amber was first sold back in 2016 by Heritage Auctions. The Twisted Sifter shared that, “The insect with the unique characteristics is poetically singular in the otherwise pristine fossil remnant. A close-up photo of the bug gives further insight into this entombed mantis. This is a tiny specimen with a major inclusion.”

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Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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