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This ancient species had the same six legs and segmented body that we’d recognize from an ant today. But it also had a huge, scythe-like jaw and a horn coming out of its head. This bizarre predator belonged to a group known as “hell ants.” But they’re gone now, and we’re still trying to figure out why.
Please see the pinned comment for a disclaimer on the ethical issues surrounding Burmese amber in paleontology.
The thumbnail is an illustration of Haidomyrmex by Franz Anthony. Thanks to Franz (franzanth.com) and Ceri Thomas (nixillustration.com/) for their Hell Ant illustrations featured in this episode!
And special thanks to Phillip Barden and David Grimaldi for providing images from their paper on Cretaceous ants:
Barden, Phillip and David Grimaldi. “Adaptive Radiation in Socially Advanced Stem-Group Ants from the Cretaceous” Current Biology, February 22, 2016 www.cell.com/current-biology/pdfExtended/S0960-9822(16)00041-5
Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: iritem.info
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