Navigation Links
Fossil reveals 48-million-year history of zombie ants
Date:8/18/2010

A 48-million-year-old fossilised leaf has revealed the oldest known evidence of a macabre part of nature parasites taking control of their hosts to turn them into zombies.

The discovery has been made by a research team led by Dr David P Hughes, from the University of Exeter, who studies parasites that can take over the minds of their hosts.

All manner of animals are susceptible to the often deadly body invasion, but scientists have been trying to track down when and where such parasites evolved.

Dr Hughes, from the University's School of Biosciences, said: "There are various techniques, called a molecular clock approach, which we can use to estimate where and when they developed and fossils are an important source of information to calibrate such clocks.

"This leaf shows clear signs of one well documented form of zombie-parasite, a fungus which infects ants and then manipulates their behaviour."

The fungus, called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, causes ants to leave their colonies and head for a leaf which provides the ideal conditions for the host to reproduce.

When it gets there the ant goes into a 'death grip' biting down very hard on the major vein of a leaf. This means that when the ant dies, its body stays put so the fungus has time to grow and release its spores to infect other ants.

The death grip bite leaves a very distinct scar on the leaves. This prompted Dr Hughes, together with research partners Conrad Labandeira from the Smithsonian Institution in the USA and Torsten Wappler, from the Steinmann Institute in Germany, to search for potential evidence of the fungus at work by studying the fossilised remains of leaves.

After studying leaf fossils from the Messel Pit, a site on the eastern side of the Rhine Rift Valley in Hesse, Germany, they found clear evidence of the death grip bite in a 48-million-year-old leaf specimen.

Dr Hughes said: "The evidence we found mir
'/>"/>

Contact: Daniel Williams
d.d.williams@exeter.ac.uk
44-139-272-2062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Possible discovery of earliest animal life pushes back fossil record
2. Discovery of possible earliest animal life pushes back fossil record
3. Mosasaur fossil at Natural History Museum of L.A. County re-explores 85-million-year-old sea monster
4. Fossil find puts a face on early primates
5. Wallabies and bats harbor fossil genes from the most deadly family of human viruses
6. Green and fair economic growth with more expensive fossil fuels
7. Fossil-fuel use and feeding world cause greatest environmental impacts: UNEP panel
8. Reducing fossil energy use on the farm
9. First studies of fossil of new human ancestor take place at the European Synchrotron
10. Human fossil discovery -- evidence of new Homo species
11. Ecologists receive mixed news from fossil record
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fossil reveals 48-million-year history of zombie ants
(Date:12/15/2014)... , Dec. 12, 2014 Research and Markets ... addition of the "Global Facial Recognition Market ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769 Facial ... of individuals. Facial recognition system measures the overall ... jaw edges, mouth, and the distance between eyes. ...
(Date:12/11/2014)... Dec. 09, 2014 Research and Markets ... ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/9ql3kr/biometrics_market ) has announced the ... 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... is the adoption of multimodal biometric systems. Multimodal ... an individual for verification and identification purposes. This ...
(Date:12/11/2014)... Minn. , Dec. 10, 2014  Data ... physiologic monitoring, has released a new series of ... of preclinical toxicology researchers. M series, part of ... toxicologists collect the best possible physiologic data when ... Adding functional endpoints to toxicology studies has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Global Facial Recognition Market 2015-2019: Key Vendors are 3M Cogent, Cognitec Systems, NEC and Safran Group 2Global Facial Recognition Market 2015-2019: Key Vendors are 3M Cogent, Cognitec Systems, NEC and Safran Group 3Biometrics Market in India 2015-2019: Key Vendors are 3M Cogent, NEC, Safran and Suprema 2New telemetry implants expected to change how large animal toxicology studies are conducted 2
... further refined the recently developed TEX 86 paleothermometer ... Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). The thermometer measures ... composition of archeabacteria. Real thermometers have been ... before this, researchers depend on signs from nature. ...
... phosphorus releases into the Everglades seem sufficient to protect ... but pollutant levels still reach double or triple safe ... A six-year study led by Duke University scientists tracked ... research sites inside the Everglades. In an Oct. ...
... Institute have described how an existing genetic tool can ... differentiate. The research appears in the November 2007 issue ... little about how human embryonic stem cells (hESC) self-renew. ... pluripotency, and their regulation, it is necessary to efficiently ...
Cached Biology News:Texel paleothermometer for climate reconstruction perfected 2Everglades phosphorus limits on the right track, but more is needed 2Everglades phosphorus limits on the right track, but more is needed 3
(Date:12/19/2014)... 18, 2014   ISN has released its ... Indicators publication series. With data aggregated from ... in 2013 within its online contractor management platform, ISNetworld, ... performance indicator (KPI) statistics. The ... publication is available in two industry specific volumes: ...
(Date:12/17/2014)... December 16, 2014 “Never say, ... Philipps- Universität Marburg’s Department of Physics, advises young ... the newly released SPIE Women in Optics ... too shy to ask questions.” , In the ... and mathematics) occupations ranging from university professor and ...
(Date:12/17/2014)... This report is a professional ... For an overview analysis, the report introduces quartz ... structure, industry overview, policy analysis, and news analysis, ... has witnessed rapid development with key manufacturers increasing ... report mentions quartz tubing upstream raw materials and ...
(Date:12/17/2014)... -- Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ), a bio-analytic ... next step in its expanded strategy to rebuild the ... naming of current Chief Operating Officer, Valerie Palmieri ... Chairman of the Board and CEO James LaFrance ... are effective January 1, 2015. "Jim and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:ISN Releases Third Edition of US Contractor Health & Safety Performance Indicators Publication Series 2ISN Releases Third Edition of US Contractor Health & Safety Performance Indicators Publication Series 3Network, Multitask, Persevere: SPIE Women in Optics Planner Subjects Share from Experience 2Network, Multitask, Persevere: SPIE Women in Optics Planner Subjects Share from Experience 32020 Quartz Tubing Market: Global Development & Forecasts Analysis Now at DeepResearchReports.com 2Vermillion Names Valerie Palmieri CEO; James LaFrance to continue as Chairman of Board 2Vermillion Names Valerie Palmieri CEO; James LaFrance to continue as Chairman of Board 3Vermillion Names Valerie Palmieri CEO; James LaFrance to continue as Chairman of Board 4
... 16 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pharmaxis (ASX: PXS;,Nasdaq: PXSL) today ... for its asthma management product, Aridol., "This ... Pharmaxis Chief,Executive Officer Dr Alan Robertson. "Korea is ... Aridol in Asia. There are an estimated 2.5 ...
... 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Vasogen Inc.,(NASDAQ: VSGN ; TSX:VAS), ... year ended November 30, 2007. All dollar amounts ... At November 30, 2007, our cash and ... at November 30, 2006. The change in,our cash ...
... 16 Bristol-Myers Squibb,Company (NYSE: BMY ) will ... 2007 on Thursday, January 31. During a 10 a.m. ... financial information and will,address inquiries from investors and analysts., ... listen to a live,webcast of the call at ...
Cached Biology Technology:Pharmaxis' Aridol Gains First Asian Approval 2Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 2Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 3Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 4Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 5Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 6Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 7Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 8Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 9Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 10Vasogen Announces 2007 Year-End Results 11