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THE AMAZING moment four ancient bugs erupted from their eggs has been captured in Lebanese amber.
The insects became trapped in the sticky resin 130million years ago, shortly after bursting through the shell – and scientists aren't sure how the creatures met their grisly fate.
Fossils - Researchers - Bugs - Steps - World
The amazing fossils are helping researchers understand how ancient bugs hatched and took their first steps in the ancient world.
Like many modern animals, the insects used a tool known as an egg-burster to smash through the egg shell.
Structures - Tend - Animals - Hatch - Evidence
"The structures that make hatching possible tend to disappear quickly once egg-laying animals hatch, so obtaining fossil evidence of them is truly exceptional," said study author Dr Michael Engel, a scientist from the University of Kansas.
The team studied insects trapped in 130-million-year-old Lebanese amber, or fossilised tree resin.
Fossils - Piece - Amber - Pinhead
All the fossils studied were stripped from the same piece of amber, and are as thin as a pinhead.
Microscopic images showed that the newborn insects, which were ancient relatives of the modern green lacewing, were locked in the amber alongside tiny egg shell fragments.
Researchers - Insects - Resin - Shells
Researchers believe the insects were trapped by resin while still clutching the shells from which they had freshly emerged.
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