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Ancient Cockroach Relative Revealed in 3-D

cockroach - Tue Apr 13, 8:03 pm ET

An early ancestor of the cockroach that lived around 300 million years ago has been revealed in a 3-D virtual fossil.

The new 3-D model is derived from a fossilized specimen of Archimylacris eggintoni, which is an ancient ancestor of modern cockroaches, mantises and termites. This insect scuttled around during the Carboniferous period 359 - 299 million years ago, which was a time when life had recently emerged from the oceans to live on land. The fossils of these creatures are normally between 3/4 and 3.5 inches (2 cm and 9) cm in length and approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) wide.

"The Carboniferous period is sometimes referred to as the age of the cockroach because fossils of Archimylacris eggintoni and its relatives are amongst the most common insects from this time period," said Russell Garwood of the Imperial College London. "They are found all over the world."

The study reveals for the first time how Archimylacris eggintoni's physical traits helped it to thrive on the floor of Earth's early forests.

The researchers created their images using a CT scanning device, based at the Natural History Museum in London, which enabled them to take 3142 x-rays of the fossil and compile the images into an accurate 3-D model, creating a 'virtual fossil' of the creature, using specially designed computer software. The scientists used the models to visualize the Archimylacris eggintoni's legs, antennae, mouth parts and body, which had never been seen by human eyes before.

The bug had sticky structures on its legs called euplantulae that probably enabled it to stick to smooth surfaces such as leaves, which may have helped them to lay their eggs above the ground in safer locations away from predators, Garwood and colleagues figure. There are also claws at the base of its legs, which helped it to climb rough surfaces like trees, so that it could perch above the forest floor for safety or find alternate sources of food higher up.

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Roaches Population outweighs the human population?


Can you sense that there are "others" living in your home? Have you seen them? Have you seen the marks that they had made in your house? Who or what are these "others" that you can feel moving about in your kitchen?

cockroachThe questions above might seem to refer to ghost or other non-worldly things but those questions actually pertain to the presence of cockroaches in your house. You cannot see them in the morning for they only usually venture outside their nests at night, when you are all sleeping. This way, they can easily sneak into your food in the cupboards, into moist utensils, all around the sink, and more. They usually hide in dark and dirty corners where they also build their nests.

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Heathcliffe - The Giant Cockroach


Cameron Richardson

His name is Heathcliffe, he's a giant burrowing cockroach and now he's contending for the title of world's heaviest insect.

But though it may sound unappealing, Heathcliffe and his kind are not the average dirty, imported roaches, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Australia's giant cockroaches give birth to live young, look after them in a burrow, make "great pets" and dine on leaves, the paper reported.

"They are the world's heaviest cockroach and if not the heaviest of all insects, they are certainly a contender," Sydney University senior biology lecturer Nathan Lo said Thursday.

"They are different to other insects in a lot of ways and are totally unrelated to the American or German cockroaches found in Australian households," Lo told The Daily Telegraph.

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