A miner in Myanmar recently stumbled across a 100 million year old predatory cockroach trapped in amber. It is a perfectly preserved specimen of an exotic insect, an ancient relative of the praying mantis. The predatory cockroach, called Manipulator modificaputis, has been described by Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, in the journal Geologica Carpathica.
With its long neck able to rotate freely, lanky spineless legs, and elongated forearms, the researchers suggest that the insect actively hunted prey by chasing it down. During the Cretaceous, a few different lineages of predatory cockroaches evolved, of which the only one surviving to modern day is the praying mantis. Found alongside another four individuals of the same species, the amber deposits in Myanmar are especially useful for building up a picture of what the ancient ecosystem looked like.
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