Top Story: April 14, 2010

Modeling Ancient Cockroaches

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They’ll be here when we’re gone and they were here way before us—cockroaches.

In attempting to discover how pre-historic, 300 million year old cockroaches lived and behaved, a team of scientists in London have modeled a fossilized specimen of Archimylacris eggintoni, and published their research in the journal Biology Letters.

Archimylacris eggintoni is an ancient ancestor of modern cockroaches, mantises and termites. This insect scuttled around on Earth during the Carboniferous period 359 -- 299 million years ago, which was a time when life had recently emerged from the oceans to live on land.

The study reveals for the first time how Archimylacris eggintoni's physical traits helped it to thrive on the floor of Earth's early forests. The fossils of these creatures are normally between 2cm and 9cm in length and approximately 4cm in width.

“Thanks to our 3D modelling process, we can see how Archimylacris eggintoni's limbs were well adapted for all terrains, as it was not only adept in the air but also very agile on the ground,” according to Russell Garwood, a PhD student from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London and the lead author of the study.

Using a CT scanning device, the researchers were able to take 3,142 x-rays of the fossil and compile the images into an accurate 3D model, creating a 'virtual fossil' of the creature.

Because very few limbs of this species—or other roach-like insects from this era—have been preserved in fossils, it has been hard for scientists to glean insights into their way of life. But the new model suggests that Archimylacris eggintoni's legs could help it to run fast.

They were able to gleam more information, as well. Garwood adds: “We now think this ancient ancestor of the cockroach spent most of the day on the forest floor, living in and eating lots of rotting plant and insect matter, which was probably the bug equivalent of heaven. We think it could have used its speed to evade predators and its climbing abilities to scale trees and lay eggs on leaves, much in the same way that modern forest cockroaches do today.”

Image Credit: Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum

comments

  • bgrnathan

    NOT MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD! Evolutionary dating methods are not infallible science, are based on certain built-in assumptions, and have been proven to be contradictory and inconsistent. Please read my popular Internet article, ARE FOSSILS REALLY MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD?

    There is absolutely no proof of macro-evolution in the fossil record. The fossils of all species are found complete (not partially-evolved) with no evidence of actual transition from one kind to another. There are no fossils of fish, for example, with part fins, part feet to show that transition occurred from fins to feet. Besides this, partially-evolved species would be unfit for survival while waiting to be completed over millions of years.

    The fossils show that all life came into existence as complete and fully-formed from the beginning, which is only possible by creation.

    The fossil layers in the real world are not even found in the sequence taught in evolutionary textbooks. There are many places where fossils of complex creatures are found beneath simpler ones, and there are fossils of mixed species existing in the same stratum which classic evolutionary textbooks teach should have been separated by millions of years.

    There’s a lot of evidence that the fossil layers were not deposited by gradual floods, which would have required millions of years. Rather, the evidence strongly points to a one world-wide flood that fossilized species, just as the Bible teaches.

    All the fossils that have been used to support human evolution have been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not non-human and human.

    Sincerely,
    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    Author of the popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East.”

    NATURAL LIMITS TO EVOLUTION: Only evolution within biological “kinds” is genetically possible (i.e. varieties of dogs, cats, etc.), but not evolution across biological “kinds” (i.e. from sea sponge to human). How could species have survived if their vital tissues, organs, reproductive systems, etc. were still evolving? Survival of the fittest actually would have prevented evolution across biological kinds! A true transitional form would be unfit for survival. For example, “if a leg of a reptile were to evolve (over supposedly millions of years) into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing” (Dr. Walt Brown, scientist and creationist). Survival of the fittest actually would have prevented evolution across biological kinds! Read my Internet article: WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS! (2nd Edition).

    Natural selection doesn’t produce biological traits or variations. It can only “select” from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. The real issue is what biological variations are possible, not natural selection. Only limited evolution, variations of already existing genes and traits, is possible. Nature is mindless and has no ability to design and program entirely new genes for entirely new traits. Evolutionists believe and hope that, over supposedly millions of years, random genetic mutations caused by environmental radiation will generate entirely new genes. This is total blind and irrational faith on the part of evolutionists. It’s much like believing that randomly changing the sequence of letters in a romance novel, over millions of years, will turn it into a book on astronomy! That’s the kind of blind faith macro-evolutionists have.

    Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot arise by chance, so it is far more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between species are due to a common Designer (Creator) who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life.

    Visit my latest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION .

    I discuss: Punctuated Equilibria, “Junk DNA,” genetics, mutations, natural selection, fossils, dinosaur “feathers,” the genetic and biological similarities between various species, etc., etc.

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    B.A. Bible/Biology

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings on religion and science.

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