Ants are from Mars

Photo of ancient ant speciesMartialis heureka is a living relic of the earliest stages of ant evolution. Scientists have unearthed an ancient ancestor of ants from the soil of the Amazon rain forest that is probably the species from which all other ants evolved.

University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling, who discovered the blind, subterranean and predatory ant, dubbed it Martialis heureka, or “ant from Mars,” because of its alien characteristics.

Genetic analysis revealed that it is of a new species, genus and subfamily — the first such ant discovery since 1923.

It also appears to be from the very base of the family tree for all the world’s ants.

Martialis heureka has survived relatively unchanged by remaining hidden underground in a stable tropical environment, free of competition from other ants, Rabeling wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

from EarthWeek

About dowbrigade

Semi-retired academic from Harvard, Boston University, Fulbright Commission, Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manta, currently columnist for El Diario de Portoviejo and La Marea de Manta.
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10 Responses to Ants are from Mars

  1. It’s interesting… I have often wondered what percentage of the billions of pounds of insects on the planet are made up of ants. Here’s grandpa…

  2. Adam says:

    Could we call this ant – ant of dinosours? 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    Good Story!
    unbelivable

  4. Okinawa says:

    I believe it…

  5. rap music says:

    Title threw me for a loop… i thought they had really found ants from mars… lol

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  7. It’s interesting… I have often wondered what percentage of the billions of pounds of insects on the planet are made up of ants. Here’s grandpa…

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