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100-million-year-old courtship behavior preserved in amber 


CH Response time: 9.7990036010742E-5
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- Lindsay Keeler | AOL.com
Insects, like humans, have developed some rather splashy means of getting the attention of the opposite sex.

However, some small, flying creatures have been at it a whole lot longer.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences examined three roughly 100-million-year-old male damselfly specimens encased in amber and found evidence of courtship rituals.

The insect fossils are the oldest known examples of mating rituals among insects of their kind.

According to a press release about the findings, the prehistoric species, "has spectacular extremely expanded, pod-like tibiae, helping to fend off other suitors as well as attract mating females, increasing the chances of successful mating. The new findings provide suggestive evidence of damselfly courtship behaviour as far back as the dinosaur age."

Similar physical traits are known to exist in more modern damselfly species, suggesting the insects' skills in wooing the ladies have been advancing and adapting for millions of years.

Fossil and skeletal discoveries

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    Gustavo Lara, Director of Culture of the town of Roque Perez, holds part of a femur bone of a glyptodont, a kind of large armadillo, at an excavation site on the outskirts of Roque Perez, some 135 km (84 miles) south of Buenos Aires, May 6, 2009. Fossil bones of nine glossopteris, a glyptodont, the nearly complete skeleton of a megatherium and a head of a stegomastodon dating from the Pleistocene, the epoch from 1.8 million to 10,000 years ago, were found by paleontologists in the sediments of the Salado River due to a drought that has been affecting the area for months, local media reported. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (ARGENTINA ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY ANIMALS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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    Chilean paleontologist Consuelo Huidobro looks on at a mastodon's fossilized remains at the rural Padre Hurtado municipality near Santiago March 24, 2011. The remains of the mastodon were discovered on the banks of the Mapocho river during the construction of a water treatment plant, local media reported. It is believed that mastodons inhabited earth some 15,000 years ago. Picture taken March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Luis Hidalgo (CHILE - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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    An unearthed mastodon's fossilized remains are pictured at the rural Padre Hurtado municipality near Santiago March 11, 2011. The remains of the mastodon were discovered on the banks of the Mapocho river during the construction of a water treatment plant, local media reported. It is believed that mastodons inhabited earth some 15,000 years ago. Picture taken March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Archaeological team/Handout (CHILE - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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    Brazilian paleontologist Alexander Kellner shows the fossils and a model of the newly-discovered prehistoric pterosaur to journalists during its presentation at Rio's Federal University Museum in Rio de Janeiro, March 20, 2013. According to Brazilian scientists, the specimen is referred to as Tropeognathus cf. T. mesembrinus, and it is the largest known pterosaur fossils recovered from Gondwana, the name given to the more southerly of the two supercontinents which were part of the Pangaea supercontinent in the past. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY ANIMALS)
  • MEXICO/
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