Cockroaches are one of the oldest ancient living organisms on the planet, the first hints of the appearance of which appeared 300 million years ago. In those ancient times, insects lived in caves, gradually adapting to the dark, moist environment of the underworld and building up strength for the future conquest of the planet. A recently discovered pair of 99-million-year-old cockroaches that have witnessed dinosaurs shows how nature and evolution do their work even despite the ice ages, mass extinctions, and asteroids falling onto the planet.
Why does nature need cockroaches?
In those harsh times, when the terrible Tyrannosaurus Rex walked the Earth, cockroaches were very different from the current ones. The petrified pair of individuals in one of the discovered amber in Myanmar is the oldest known example of the so-called “troglomorphic” organisms – creatures that at one time managed to adapt to the dark environment of ancient caves. Although biologists currently have many examples of cockroaches and other cave insects with wings, pale bodies and long antennae, these specimens, belonging to two different related species, are the most ancient animals that we have ever been able to find with similar characteristics. , writes the portal livescience.com.
Describing their find, the researchers referred to the fact that both cockroaches were so well preserved thanks to amber – a petrified ancient resin that reliably preserved insects for millions of years. Amber fossils are known to be common for small creatures that live next to trees, since ancient resin, dripping from the roots of trees into caves of cockroaches, then hardened around paleoanthropods, turning them into an almost eternal reminder of how ancient our planet is.
Until now, it was known that the history of cave cockroaches dates back to the Cenozoic era, which began about 65 million years ago. Be that as it may, scientists had reason to believe that some of the most enduring living things on the planet could be much older than previously thought. Based on a genetic analysis of insects found in amber, scientists found that cockroaches are indeed the same age as dinosaurs, adapting to most of the adverse conditions of our planet during their long existence. So, the incredible endurance of cockroaches has already helped them successfully survive many planetary troubles in the form of extreme climate changes, ice ages, droughts, floods and other phenomena that are not most desired for life.
According to official data, today on Earth there are more than four thousand different types of cockroaches that can eat even inedible things such as ink, particles of dead skin of humans and animals, soap or glue. Despite the repulsive appearance of these insects, cockroaches are considered symbiotic creatures of a person, helping him fight other insects, and also providing him with tremendous support in fertilizing the soil with nitrogen, which is so necessary for plant growth. In other words, the disappearance of cockroaches would do great damage to the ecosystem of the planet and to humanity itself.