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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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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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