A new 3D x-ray technique has revealed a tiny jumping wingless arthropod making a break for freedom after hitching a ride on a mayfly's wing - only to be caught in a drop of amber and frozen for the next 16 million years. Scientists at Manchester University uncovered the ancient story when Dr David Penney and colleagues decided …
Things like this make me wish I'd continued my career in Biology - I never got to play with the big toys, but I did get to gold plate a wasp once.
And I'll need to read that PLoS article - they say symbiosis, but I don't really see the advantage for the mayfly in having prehensile antennae thrust into its wing. Unless it's having company for the long lonely minutes before the poor ephemeropteran shuffles off its mortal coil (or spring).
Symbiosis does not imply benefit for both (or all) parties, only that at least on benefits. Parasitism, which this most likely falls under, is a form of symbiosis that benefits one party to the detriment of the other.
You are confusing symbiosis with commensalism
One party benefits - commensalism
one benefits at exense of other - parasitism
both benefit - mutualism
symbiosis generally is used to mean long-term extensive co-dependent mutualism although as always there are lots of obsessives arguing about usage/defintions
Re: You are confusing symbiosis with commensalism
I was not confused. I remembered the list you give as being subcategories of symbiosis. I then looked up the term rather than assumed my memory was all it ought to be (e.g. http://krupp.wcc.hawaii.edu/BIOL200/powerpnt/symbcomp/tsld003.htm). While I agree that most people would use symbiosis exactly as you state, the authors of the PLoS One article would seem to fall within your definition of "obsessives." In this case, though, the relationship is indeed commensalism (phoresy is not parasitism as I initially assumed).
"a tiny jumping wingless arthropod making a break for freedom after hitching a ride on a mayfly's wing - only to be caught in a drop of amber and frozen for the next 16 million years."
amber yet again. But if amber is a natural force and isn't alive how does it catch so many animals? All I know is amber will get me in the end if nothing else will. even if science develops an elixir of eternal life and gives it to me I will still know that one day I will be caught by amber. No-one ever sees amber coming, i dont even know what it looks like. poor wingless arthropod. bloody amber!
Humor aside, this is something I don't get: how come so many small critters got trapped in amber in ancient times? Were plants more... "Resinous" back then? Does it still happen today and we just don't get to notice?
It still happens everywhere pine, sugar maple, sugar palms, and other Green Stuff of that ilk grow. Insects get trapped and engulfed, and if we wouldn't use most of those shrubs and trees as product crops, eventually the resin buildup would be covered up and with a bit of luck, fossilise.
The Green Stuff nowadays may be quite different from the Carniforous era, but the principle is the same.
No, there were just no humans to cut down such trees. In non-urban areas this is still a common occurrence. At least I'd assume. It's late, so I'd not risk a wiki expedition (with sources of cause!) to check. :)
Just think of the numbers
P1 = Probability of getting trapped in amber: fairly small number (like 0.0000001)
B = Number of bugs at any one time: very large number (like 1 billion)
T = Amount of time available for it to happen (when trees and bugs exist at the same time): large number (say, 100 billion seconds)
P2 = Probability of that blob of amber fossilizing, and being found by someone: small number (like 0.0000001)
Therefore, expected number of bugs in amber = B * P1 * T * P1 = modest number (about a million)
These numbers are guesses, but you get the idea...
Fascinating stuff - can't help feeling as bit sorry for the victims.
Don't you just hate it when another person does an action that causes you to be late for something?
Mayfly: OMG, amber is coming!
Springtail: *jumps* WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *thunk!*
Mayfly: WTF, get offa me! *glubglubglub*
amber: I guess you can say that both of you are *takes off sunglasses* late for the party (or something equally lame)
Thumbs down, because that's the only direction amber can travel, right?
Next time just don't stop to pick up a hitch-hiker!
"Next time just don't stop to pick up a hitch-hiker!"
Don't be silly, springtails don't hitch-hike. They don't have thumbs.
This has given me an idea for a film.
As soon as I work out how a dinosaur could get trapped in amber.
Re: This has given me an idea for a film.
You weren't paying attention - you only need some dynosaur blood in the belly of a mosquito.
Came here looking for Pegasus-s-s-s-s , and left rather disappointed.
Sounds like a storyline for Scrat in film Ice Age ?
3D imaging... million year old fossils...
Hook the 3D image to a 3D printer = mind blown!
I'd like to upvote the entire article just for the word "phoresy".
Re: phoresy !
Sadly they made a mistake. It's not phoresy, it's horsey.
"...tiny aerial equestrian"
So the bigger story here is that horses evolved from mayflies?
Mine's the one with the Latin dictionary in the pocket.
Re: "...tiny aerial equestrian"
Re: "...tiny aerial equestrian"
Even more important, Jockeys evolved from springtails!
Hitching on a mayfly?
That was never going to be a long ride.
Creatures would do anything to avoid Ryan Air back in those days as well!
caught in a blob of amber
I'm inclined to believe it was caught in a blob of tree sap. Tree sap that later became amber.
Are they sure it's not a bug in the software...
Evidence of the first lawyer.