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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Prehistoric Ant Discovered Alive in Amazon Rainforest

from the Guardian (UK)

An ancient ancestor of ants has been discovered living in the soils of the Amazon rainforest. The species, named Martialis heureka, or "ant from Mars", because of its unusual features, is a pale-bodied, blind predator that uses oversized jaws to capture prey.

Ants evolved 120m years ago from wasp-like ancestors and rapidly adapted to living in soil, trees and leaf litter. Genetic tests on the 3mm-long species show it emerged at the very earliest stages of ant evolution, said Christian Rabeling at the University of Texas at Austin. His study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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