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  • Ancient 'fig wasp' lived tens of millions of years before figs

    Although it lived roughly 65 million years before the earliest known occurrence of figs, the fossil wasp's ovipositor closely resembles those of today's fig wasps.

    Although it lived roughly 65 million years before the earliest known occurrence of figs, the fossil wasp's ovipositor closely resembles those of today's fig wasps.

    Photo by Sergio Jansen Gonzalez with insert by Sam Heads

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      Although it lived roughly 65 million years before the earliest known occurrence of figs, the fossil wasp's ovipositor closely resembles those of today's fig wasps.

      Photo by Sergio Jansen Gonzalez with insert by Sam Heads

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      Paleoentomologist Sam Heads, of the Illinois Natural History Survey, discovered the fossil of a parasitic wasp that lived in the time of dinosaurs.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Today's fig wasps have ovipositors that are strikingly similar to those of the fossil wasp. Pictured: Avispa de higo, "Fig wasp" Idarnes sp. flavicollis) (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Sycophaginae)

      Photo by Sergio Jansen Gonzalez

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      Although it lived roughly 65 million years before the earliest known occurrence of figs, the fossil wasp's ovipositor closely resembles those of today's fig wasps.

      Photo by Sam Heads

      PrevNext

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  • To reach Sam Heads , call 217-244-9448; email swheads@illinois.edu. The paper, “A New Parasitoid Wasp (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) From the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil: The First Mesozoic Peteromalidae,” is available online.