Random fact; 80% of the nearly 1.7 million different species of animals are identified as arthropods, or insects or their crunchy relatives. That’s a lot of different types of bugs! So, how do we tell what’s in an insects history? What are the bug facts behind lineage?
Taxonomists are the ones who are lucky enough to be able to name and identify each individual specie. They are the lucky ones who enter the molecular technologies and sequencing of breakdowns to determine exactly “what is that” when it comes to bugs. Thankfully, technology has allowed taxonomists to not only identify what each specie is, but also to understand their history.
In recent history, it has been difficult to analyze all the bug data because finding fossils are rare. Finding small bug fossils are even rarer. These fossils make the research possible. Scientists collected data, and then created an algorithm of sorts to distinguish and catalog the data. What they found is an explosive amount of diversification of insects.
For instance, they were able to pinpoint that lice have been around longer than primates, insects started flying 406 million years ago, and most of these insects have been on the earth longer than flower plants.
What this all means for the future is that scientists believe the best research is yet to come but the end goal is near. Understanding how each group came to be and having the ability to map exactly which came first is finally becoming a reality.
Are you interested in the evolution of insects? Click here for more information