Remarkable Amber Fossil Contains New Scorpion
Amber may be nature's finest camera, and scientists just revealed one amazing snapshot.
You can see it above: an entire scorpion, exquisitely preserved in a large drop of fossilized tree resin. According to the researchers who examined the contained critter, the scorpion is a brand new species!
Bibiano Luna-Castro, director of the Amber Museum in Chiapas, Mexico, must have been ecstatic when a native local farmer presented him the fossil, which was unearthed near the Guadalupe Victoria Site in the amber-rich Chiapas Highlands. Fossil scorpions are comparatively rare, especially complete ones! Think about it. A tiny insect can easily fall victim to syrupy tree resin, but a two-centimeter-long critter is much harder to ensnare.
After confirming that the scorpion was indeed a novel species, the researchers dubbed the animal Tityus apozonalli. They tentatively dated the specimen to between 15 and 23 million years old!
The fossil further demonstrates scorpions' long-lasting ties to Mexico. Over 258 species have been found in the country, constituting roughly 13.5% of the arthropod's worldwide diversity.
Source: Riquelme F, Villegas-Guzmán G, González-Santillán E, Córdova-Tabares V, Francke OF, Piedra-Jiménez D, et al. (2015) New Fossil Scorpion from the Chiapas Amber Lagerstätte. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0133396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133396