Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ant from Mars Not Really from Mars

A new species of ant has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. It’s been named Martialis heureka (or, “eureka ant from Mars”) after biologist E.O. Wilson commented that the species is so strange it looks like it came from Mars. But since we’re pretty sure Martian ants grow upwards of seven feet from shoulder to claw and have a penchant for raping human men, obviously this was just a figure of speech on Wilson’s part. The thing is pretty weird, though. It’s a blind, subterranean predator, and its features suggest it might be very close physically to the earliest ants to evolve. This is exciting news, since it means there are probably many undiscovered species that could give us a glimpse into the evolutionary history of many more animals. Here’s hoping they find a primitive form of the platypus that hasn’t yet evolved to lose all its dignity. More details here.

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