Are Ants Miniature Dinosaurs?
Ants are definitely one of the least-liked insects. They like to infiltrate homes during the summertime and crawl inside food. Have you ever wondered how long ants have been around? Here is the scoop on ants that will fascinate and possibly frighten you.
Whether you have actually seen them or not, you’ve probably heard of flying ants. Flying ants, or Alates, look similar to termites. They’re also the closest resemblance to the earliest living ants. This is because ants actually evolved from wasps-like ancestors during the mid-Cretaceous period, which was between 110 and 130 million years ago. Science has shown that the cause was a diversification after flowering plants began to change.
When ants first began to evolve, they evolved into what scientists call Dinosaur Ants. The Dinosaur Ants received their name because it is a living fossil. It’s the closest living ant that exhibits the behavior and body structure of the ants that first evolved more than 100 million years ago. The first Dinosaur Ant was discovered in 1931 in Western Australia. No others were found until 1977, when an entire colony of Dinosaur Ants were found during an insect expedition in South Australia. Other colonies were found throughout the 1990s. What did prehistoric ants look like? While you are used to seeing small ants crawl across your foot in the summertime, that wasn’t the case in the prehistoric years. The largest ant ever found was a fossilized specimen that was 2.4 inches long. The wingspan of the massive insect spread to about six inches.
Fun Ant Facts
Other than being old as dirt, literally, there are many other interesting things about ants that you may not have known about. For example, ants have made their way around the entire world. Other than the arctic regions, ants live on every other continent after surviving the mass extinction that took out the dinosaurs. Dinosaur Ants that were once native to Pangea evolved into more than 50 species and spread out across the globe. As you already know, there are 7 billion people in the world. While that may seem like a lot, humans are vastly outnumbered by ants. All of the species of ants combined total a massive population of 10,000 trillion. In fact, if you add up the biomass of all of the animals on the planet, ants alone account for a quarter of it.
Ants are definitely some creepy but interesting creatures. They have been dominating the planet since dinosaurs walked the earth, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.