Masters of Evolution
A new study published in Science Magazine reveals the origin of insects and their evolution and survival over millions of years. The study involved more than 100 scientists from 16 different countries. Scientists were able to study the DNA and sequence the genes from all types of insects and look at when they branched off from crustaceans to begin their lives on land, some 450 to 500 million years ago. That is the same time as the earliest terrestrial plants. They found that the closest relatives to those original insects are silverfish, primitive insects without wings.
This could explain their close relationship with plant life. The study revealed that insects and plants formed the first terrestrial ecosystem together. Around the time that plants began to grow taller insects began growing wings. Most of the insects we are familiar with today formed in a burst of evolution around 350 million years ago. This includes such insects as grasshoppers and cockroaches. Other common groups such as flies, wasps, and beetles evolved more than 200 million years ago. One of the most amazing things is that these seemingly insignificant insects were able to survive mass extinctions that wiped out other land animals.
What do you think of the resilience of insects? What are your thoughts on their close relationship with our plant life?