Ancient insect blended in with foliage in China
WASHINGTON - Reuters
Photos show a fossil stick insect and a plant fossil in China.A number of insect species look so much like sticks or leaves that they simply blend in with the foliage, providing camouflage that helps keep them out of the beaks of hungry birds hankering for a big bite of bug.
But this is no recent adaptation. An international team of scientists said on March 19 they have discovered the fossil of an insect in China that lived about 126 million years ago whose appearance mimicked that of a nearby plant. It is the oldest-known stick or leaf insect that used such natural trickery, they said.
The insect, named Cretophasmomima melanogramma, was found in Liaoning, part of the Jehol rock formation that has yielded many stunningly detailed fossils of creatures.T
he researchers realized the insect looked remarkably like the leaf of a plant that grew in the same place.