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November 7 2013

Case of Insect Interruptus Yields a Rare Fossil Find


About 165 million years ago, in what is now northeastern China, two insects were doing what comes naturally. Suddenly, in the middle of copulating, they were struck dead, felled by poisonous gas from a volcanic eruption.

But the moment was not lost. Fortunately for science, the insects, still in the grip of what passes for passion among froghoppers, sank to the bottom of a lake where they were preserved for the ages under layers of ash and sediment.

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