With picnic season upon us we’re all a little weary of creepy crawlies getting into the sandwiches and cider, but at least they’re a manageable size…
Scientists have discovered fossils in a lake in Wyoming, US of giant ants growing up to 2 inches long. It lived approximately 50 million years ago and crossed continents from the arctic during hot spells.
This new species (Titanomyrma lubei) has similarities with fossils found in Germany and on the Isle of Wight all dating from around the same period.
“It would have been very impressive – the one in Germany was estimated to have a body weighing as much as a wren and this would have been of similar size” said Bruce Archibald of the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
The ants needed a warm climate to cross the land bridges that existed 56-34 million years ago, the Earth’s temperature rose higher than it does today most likely due to the methane build up in the atmosphere.
In researching all of the ants that have grown longer than 1.2inches the scientists have discovered that all the species are associated with tropical temperatures, the modern equivalent being the driver ants in central and east Africa that can grow up to 2 inches long.
If you fancy a research trip overseas (ants optional) then why not check out our project opportunities.