100-Million-Year-Old Assassin Fly Found in Ancient Amber
Torsten Dikow, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has discovered a new species of assassin fly in amber that is 100 million years old. The new fly, Burmapogon bruckschi, is described in an article in the journal American Museum Novitates.
“The transparency of these amber fossils gives researchers a new window into the ecology of the Cretaceous period, and sheds light on the evolutionary history of a family of flies that has withstood the test of time for millions of years,” said Dr. Dikow. “The fossils of these ancient flies are so well preserved that you can almost imagine them flying around in our world today.”
The amber deposit came from Burma, which is why they genus is called Burmapogon (“pogon” is Greek for beard, and it is often used for flies in the Asilidae family). The species name is bruckschi because the amber was acquired by an Australian man named Klaus-Peter Brucksch.
The flies were very small, measuring between 6.5 and 8 millimeters in length.
Dr. Dikow co-authored the article with David Grimaldi, an expert on insect fossils at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In it, they also provide a scientific name for another fly which was originally discovered in ancient amber from New Jersey by Dr. Grimaldi in 1999, Cretagaster raritanensis.
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