Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have discovered the oldest beetle in the world. Sample – the ancestor of the centipedes found on the island of Kerrera in Scotland, his age makes 425 million years.
Found fossil – an extinct species of millipedes Kampecaris obanensis. Although it was discovered in 1899, it is only now scientists were able to establish his exact age.
To do this, the team used the technology of radiometric Dating on zircon in the sediments. Zircon is a tiny, incredibly durable mineral pellets, so they experience all kinds of geological events that leave traces on them. This makes them perfect time capsules. So, the group examined the granules of zircon from three fossil localities in the UK, where, as you know, found some of the most early specimens of centipedes. Age Kampecaris was the oldest 425 million years, fossils from the second portion of Ludlow – 420 million years, and from Cowie – 414 million years.
Based on available data, the scientists hypothesize that the millipedes Kampecaris obanensis not only the most ancient found to date, insects – but some of the oldest insects in principle. To date, more ancient remains of the insect on Earth discovered.