Thanks to a scientist at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, assassin flies can now add an additional species to their family trees.
The assassin fly has ruled the insect kingdom for over 100 million years, serving as its most prolific predator.
Thanks to a scientist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the ruthless killers can now add additional species to their family trees.
The Cretaceous period specimens that enabled the discovery were trapped in amber, allowing for their imprints to be studied in detail.
Previous ancient examples were encased in limestone, and thus didn’t offer anywhere near the same clear, 360 degree views.
According to the researcher, the advantage offered by the translucent entombment made all the difference.
He said, "The fossils of these ancient flies are so well preserved that you can almost imagine them flying around in our world today."
Even though the tissue was no longer in the samples, the fine detail of the imprint left behind allowed for a complete, 3-dimensional look at the insects.
By comparing specific characteristics with known species, the team was able to determine that they’d stumbled upon a new one.
Among the features that separated them from modern assassin flies were their flattened antennae, spiny back legs, and v-shaped eyes.