Fossilized Microwhip Scorpion Discovered in Amber

Posted on March 9, 2016

An ancient minute fossilized microwhip scorpion has been found in 100-million-year-old amber. The yellowish female specimen is just 1.47 millimeters long. It lived during the Mesozoic period. The fossil was found in northern Myanmar.

The fossilized microwhip scorpion has been named Electrokoenenia yaksha. The name is partly derived from electrum, which means "amber." The "yaksha" name references nature spirits in South Asian mythology, which are said to have held stewardship over the wonders hidden in the earth.

The researchers say that similarity of the amber fossil to modern microwhip scorpions suggests it likely shared the same habitat as its modern relatives. The amazing fossil find was initially overlooked due to its placement among a series of reflective fractures. The international research team was led by Michael S. Engel of the University of Kansas and the American Museum of Natural History in the U.S. and Diying Huang of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China.

Engel says in a statement, "Preservation in amber is perhaps the only medium through which such minute animals could be adequately characterized, their fine features and fragile forms too readily destroyed or rendered unidentifiable in sediments."

A research paper on the ancient microwhip scorpion was published here in the journal, The Science of Nature.

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