Scientists at Oregon State University in the United States have discovered a 100-million-year-old insect with an “ET-like” appearance and features distinguishing enough to have it placed in its own scientific order, Phys.org reported on Wednesday. The researchers found an amber-preserved specimen of the insect, named Aethiocarenus burmanicus, in the Hukwang Valley mines of Myanmar.
Entomologist and OSU Professor Emeritus George Poinar Junior said Aethiocarenus burmanicus had a “number of features that just don’t match those of any other insects”. “It appears to be unique in the insect world, and after considerable discussion we decided it had to take its place in a new order.” Poinar said that the insect’s head was its most unusual feature, as its triangular shape and angled eyes would have allowed it to see almost 180 degrees across by turning sideways.
The researchers believe that Aethiocarenus burmanicus was an omnivore and lived inside fissures in the barks of trees and fed on mites, worms and fungi. Only two amber-preserved specimens of the newly-discovered species have been located so far.