30-million-year-old little ‘Mold Pigs’ Identified by Scientists

30-million-year-old little ‘Mold Pigs’ Identified by Scientists
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A recent discovery unveils how some fossils preserved in amber represent a new species of microinvertebrate. The fossils stored in Dominican amber are from the mid-Tertiary period, approximately 30 million years ago. The discovery was made possible with the help of George Poinar JR., an entomologist from Oregon State University’s College of Science. Poinar stated that “Every now and then, we’ll find small, fragile, previously unknown fossil invertebrates in specialized habitats.” He named the microinvertebrates “mold pigs” because they depict a swine and its way of being. The “animals” are intriguingly fascinating, and by Poinar’s findings, they were so tiny, reaching almost 100 micrometers long. The microinvertebrates also had a pair of four flexible legs. Their actions consisted of extending themselves by shedding their exoskeleton. Moreover, they ate mainly fungi and other small invertebrates.

As for their characteristics, Poinar indicated a similarity with tardigrades, also known as water bears or moss pigs. He said, “Based on what we know about extant and extinct microinvertebrates, S.dominicana appears to represent a new phylum.”

More About Fossil Invertebrates

We understand from the term invertebrate, all the animals without backbones, having more than one cell. These creatures have a complex and sometimes, unique structure and system. The present invertebrate species that are alive nowadays represent a total of approximately 96 %. There are more classes of crustaceans, such as crabs or lobsters than vertebrates. Back in time, it was almost the same, and this is proved by the fossils discovered along time. Nearly all animals found as fossils were invertebrates. The diversity and abundance of invertebrate fossils are quite spectacular. Since now, scientists succeeded in dividing the findings into many classes such as mollusks, arthropods, echinoderms, and cnidarians. The “mold pigs,” however, represent quite the oddity, and scientists still need more time to figure out their backgrounds exactly.


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