Scientists have found two mating flies that froze in amber 40 million years ago. This find is so rare that researchers called it the “holy grail” of archeology.
Researchers found amber of the genus Dolichopodidae, which lived in southern Gondwana about 40 million years ago. According to leading scientist Jeffrey Stillwell of Monash University, this is the first find of frozen copulating insects that have been found in Australia.
As noted in a study published in Nature, the descendants of these flies still exist. They feed on aphids and larvae and live near water, in meadows, fringes, and on the outskirts of forests.
Stillwell said that this amber is so rare that it can be called the “holy grail”, because it was able to preserve the ancient organisms in a “magnificent form”. Previous samples of amber contained parasites in action and creatures in the process of eating something, but scientists did not find two mating flies.
Researchers have begun searching for insects throughout Australia and New Zealand. They said they found dozens of pieces of amber from South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, and Australia.