You’re bored. We get it. Maybe, you just watched A Bug’s Life on Netflix and you thought, hey, why hasn’t somebody made a movie called A Bug’s Dick. And, you being you, you googled it and now here you are. Check this out.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, scientists recently found an exquisitely preserved 50 million-year-old fossil of the assassin bug. The fossil was so well preserved that you can even make out the colored bands on the insect’s legs and body.
Scientists were even able to make out the critters dingling. Yes, this is a big deal, even though it was only about the size of a grain of rice. “Genitalias are important characteristics of insects that are often used to describe and define species,” says Dena Smith, a paleontologist at the University of Colorado Boulder.
An important discovery (but is it really?)
The fossil was donated for study by Dan Judd, a private fossil collector. It came from the Green River formation in Wyoming, a place known for producing unique and extraordinary fossil evidence. And also a place, which 50 million years ago, was an area of vast lakes that was surrounded by semi-tropical forests, filled with primitive bats and lemurs.
Paleontologists named the creature Apheliocophontas danjuddi, with the last word a play upon the donor’s name. They have classified it as an assassin bug, a species that still exists today.
In fact, there are over 7,000 species of assassin bugs living today. But for paleontologists, they’ve only had the opportunity to analyze about 50 fossilized assassin bugs.
Yeah, assassin bug fossils are pretty rare. This fossil is a crazy good find. Paleontologists are counting themselves lucky to have it. It is so well preserved that every part of the insect is visible, even its private parts.
Researchers hope to use the information gained by the discovery of this fossil to learn more about ancient plant systems that supported whole towns of specialized insects in the Eocene era. Assassin bugs usually eat insects that devour the plant leaves. So by studying them, researchers gain a better understanding of the community at Large.
Facts about the wang
The male sex organ of the fossil is known as a pygopore. The word means “rump” in ancient Greek. The pygopore is very similar to the hardened exoskeleton of the insect. It protects all the sensitive parts of the assassin bugs genitalia.
So yeah, direct evidence of the dong is pretty rare. Evidence of an insect’s dong, even rarer.
However, this ancient pygopore is very important to paleontologists and entomologists both. It’s very distinct and crucial for classifying the species. Bug penises are like human fingerprints. They identify.
Before this discovery, paleontologists had discovered fossils of sharks on a date. They’ve even seen prehistoric turtles stacking their shells. But up until this point, no junk had been visible. Soft tissue usually doesn’t survive the ravages of time.
Evolution doesn’t apply to dicks
The experts say that nothing much has changed in 50 million years. The assassin bug dongs of the Eocene era are the same as present-day assassin bug dongs, ready for action.
Okay that last part is crap, but you know what I’m saying. Evolution knows when it has something good. It’ll take a pass when it needs to.
A grain of rice doesn’t sound that big. But, when you think about it, compared to the size of your average bug, this ancient insect was packing a hog. He probably got light-headed whenever he was about to do the deed.