Science

Why these 99-million-year-old bugs still shine like diamonds

When dinosaurs ruled Earth, these insects got trapped in tree resin and died...

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Some 99 million years later, paleontologists in Myanmar unearthed those fossilized bits of resin — known as amber — and found something amazing...

Locked inside the 35 pieces of amber were shiny, metallic insects.

Among the insects were soldier flies, cuckoo wasps, and beetles.

"We have seen thousands of amber fossils but the preservation of color in these specimens is extraordinary," says study co-author Huang Diying.

Nano-sized biophotonic crystals in their exoskeletons give these bugs their metallic sheen.

The modern-day cuckoo wasp sports the same colors as its 99 million year old ancestor.

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Scientists think that the cuckoo wasp’s metallic green shell helps them camouflage in a green forest.

Cuckoo wasps lay eggs in the nests of bees and other wasps, so it’s important for them to stay hidden.

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There may have been other benefits to their shiny exteriors, but that’ll be a discovery for another day.

Read more amazing animal stories here.

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