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Thread: Meet the butterflies from 200 million years ago

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Meet the butterflies from 200 million years ago

    Newly discovered fossils show that moths and butterflies have been on the planet for at least 200 million years.
    Scientists found fossilised butterfly scales the size of a speck of dust inside ancient rock from Germany.
    The find pushes back the date for the origins of the Lepidoptera, one of the most prized and studied insect groups.

    The Jurassic was a world dominated by gymnosperm plants, such as conifers, which produced sugary nectar to capture pollen from the air. The primitive insects may have fed on this nectar, before flowering plants came along around 130 million years ago.
    Dr Russell Garwood of the University of Manchester, who is not connected with the study, said it had always been assumed that coiled mouthparts had evolved alongside the flowers that these animals pollinate.
    it makes sense that a nectar feeding organism would come first to give the other plants a 'reason' to develop flowers, or favour plants with nectar producing abilities.

    How might flowers evolve; might it be a tenancy to be damaged and so ooze sap?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    No flowers would have a different beginning.

    Magnolias are an example of some of the first flowering plants, so you may want to look into them further.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    How can they know they had coiled mouthparts unless they're fossilized too? They have wing scales. Isn't that like concluding that Archaeopteryx didn't have teeth, because modern birds don't have teeth, on the basis of fossil feathers?
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Lepidoptera fall into two types today, the ones with coiled mouthparts (which is most of them) and the primitive moths in the Micropterigidae family, which don't.
    Since they say that only some of the scales come from lepidoptrera with coiled mouthparts, I suspect that this means that they can tell the difference between Micropterigidae scales and normal scales, and they've found some with normal scales. Not conclusive, but a reasonable conclusion.

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