Millipede trapped in amber for 99 million years will get its second to shine

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The newly described millipede (Burmanopetalum inexpectatum) caught in amber.


Leif Moritz

A tiny millipede caught in amber has had 99 million years to ponder its sticky predicament. The itsy insect did not reside to get pleasure from its 2019 coming-out celebration as a scientific curiosity, however the remainder of us can marvel on the exceptional specimen.

The millipede is trapped in Cretaceous-era amber present in Myanmar. Researchers decided the millipede is the primary fossil discovered from the order Callipodida, but it surely was unusual sufficient to require a brand new suborder. It is now referred to as “Burmanopetalum inexpectatum,” with the latter phrase that means “sudden” in Latin.

The researchers created this 3D mannequin of the millipede.


Leif Moritz

The crew created a 3D mannequin of the 0.3-inch (8.2-millimeter) millipede to extra carefully research its anatomy.

“With the next-generation micro-computer tomography (micro-CT) and the related picture rendering and processing software program, we at the moment are in a position to reconstruct the entire animal and observe the tiniest morphological traits that are not often preserved in fossils,” mentioned zoologist Pavel Stoev of the Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past in Bulgaria.

Stoev is the lead creator of a paper on the millipede printed this week within the journal ZooKeys. 

The Callipodida order of millipedes nonetheless exists in the present day, with over 100 species crawling across the planet. This explicit fossil was the one one in all its order discovered amongst over 500 millipede specimens trapped in the identical amber deposit. 

Fossil arthropod professional Greg Edgecombe from the Pure Historical past Museum in London welcomed Burmanopetalum inexpectatum to the membership of historical amber-encased millipedes. 

“Prior to now few years, almost all the 16 dwelling orders of millipedes have been recognized on this 99-million-year-old amber,” Edgecombe mentioned. 

Congratulations, little millipede, you are a trailblazing consultant in your order.

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