Rare amber holds prawn from 22m years ago
Chinese researchers have identified a rare piece of amber containing an ancient shrimp dating back around 22 million years.
Researchers from the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nankai University and the Institute of Oceanology under the CAS discovered the specimen in Mexico.
Formed in the early Miocene, about 22 million years ago, it sheds light on the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico then.
It is rare to see aquatic organisms preserved in amber.
And this is the first time a caridean shrimp has been discovered in an amber fossil, according to the team.
According to Li Xinzheng from the Institute of Oceanology, the shrimp, very similar to the current living genus Palaemon, lived in an estuary.
The specimen offers insight into the adaptive evolution of caridean shrimp, as well as the transition of aquatic organisms from marine to freshwater environments, said Huang Dawei from the Nankai University.
The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The ancient specimen is currently stored at the PaleoDiary Museum in Beijing.