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Earth Science

Microbes 100M Years Old Found In Termite Guts 145

Posted by kdawson
from the mutualism-in-action dept.
viyh writes with coverage on MSNBC of the discovery of ancient microbes fossilized in the gut of a termite. "One hundred million years ago a termite was wounded and its abdomen split open. The resin of a pine tree slowly enveloped its body and the contents of its gut. In what is now the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar, the resin fossilized and was buried until it was chipped out of an amber mine. The resin had seeped into the termite's wound and preserved even the microscopic organisms in its gut. These microbes are the forebears of the microbes that live in the guts of today's termites and help them digest wood. ... The amber preserved the microbes with exquisite detail, including internal features like the nuclei. ... Termites are related to cockroaches and split from them in evolutionary time at about the same time the termite in the amber was trapped."
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Microbes 100M Years Old Found In Termite Guts

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