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article imageScientist discovers an extinct insect on eBay

By Chris V. Thangham     Aug 22, 2008 in Environment
A scientist saw a curious item on eBay and decided to purchase it for £20 ($37.51). It ended up being an extinct insect encased in amber.
Scientists have made similar discoveries in the past, where the creatures gets trapped in the wood resin and becomes fossilized. This aphid insect was trapped in a similar way more than millions of years ago.
Dr. Harrington, who works at the world famous Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, bought the fossil from a man in Lithuania. Dr. Harrington sent the sample to fossil aphid expert Professor Ole Heie in Denmark. Heie confirmed that it was a new discovery and it belonged to an extinct type of aphid.
The 3-4mm (0.12-0.16 inches) insect is encased in a 40 to 50 million year-old piece of amber about the size of a small pill.
Initially Dr. Harrington wanted to name this extinct insect after eBay but since the science community doesn’t allow frivolous names, it was named after him by his fellow scientist, Professor Heie.
Dr. Harrington told Telegraph: I had thought it would be rather nice to call it Mindarus ebayi…Unfortunately using flippant names to describe new species is rather frowned upon these days.
Professor Heie has named the new species Mindarus harringtoni after Dr Harrington.
Dr. Harrington added: "It's not uncommon to find insects in amber... but I'm not sure that one has turned up on eBay that has been undiscovered before. It's a rather unusual route to come by."
Instead of looking for new insects and creatures in the field, you can find them on eBay.
More about Extinct, Insect, Ebay
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