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Sunday, March 26, 2023

A ‘Giant’ Prehistoric Insect Was Accidentally Rediscovered at a Walmart | Vice

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In 2012, Michael Skvarla, the director of Penn State University’s Insect Identification Lab, discovered a giant lacewing, a species that dates back to the Jurassic and hadn’t been seen in eastern North America in over 50 years, in an Arkansas Walmart. 

He falsely identified the insect and had it in his collection for ten years before realizing it was a rare discovery. Skvarla confirmed the bug’s identity through molecular DNA analyses. The giant lacewing, which can reach nearly two inches, was once widespread across North America but disappeared by the 1950s and the reason is still unknown. The bug’s size and the popularity of technology like iNaturalist, where users can record and share their observations, may mean that if the bug existed broadly across its former range, it would have likely already been discovered. The bug now resides at the Penn State Frost Entomological Museum. 

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7gmmn/giant-lacewing-arkansas-walmart-prehistoric-insect-rediscovered 


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