Searching 230-Million-Year-Old Poop, Scientists Find a New Beetle

Searching 230-Million-Year-Old Poop, Scientists Find a New Beetle

These beetles, ambassadors of a long-lost lineage, now represent the first ever insect species described from a piece of fossilized excrement. Historically, amber has been the best source for paleontologists and entomologists to study ancient arthropods in three dimensions. “This shows that coprolites can provide amazing specimens for study.” Researchers had imaged a few other coprolites in recent years. “Some things work, and some things don’t.”Both Qvarnström and Fikáček say more secrets to insect evolution might wait within the many poop fossils paleontologists have already found that date to the Triassic period and earlier. They hope the discovery inspires others to use imaging to peek inside these fossils and any future unearthed excrement.

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