A piece of amber wrapped in a 22 million-year-old aquatic shrimp specimen was unveiled on the 9th. The team that discovered the amber shrimp said that aquatic organisms preserved in amber are very rare. This piece of “amber shrimp” provides scientists with clues to study the transition of aquatic organisms from a marine environment to a freshwater environment. There have been no international reports on the discovery of true shrimp amber fossils before.
A research team from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nankai University and the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered the shrimp specimen. Dr. Chen Rui from the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that this piece of amber comes from the Mexican region of Central America and was formed in the early Miocene about 22 million years ago. It provides valuable evidence for understanding the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico at that time.
Chinese scientists conducted an “identification” of the amber. Li Xinzheng, a researcher at the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the specimen is in a good state of preservation, with clearly visible morphological characteristics, and its overall appearance is very similar to that of existing species of the family Brachiidae, indicating that this shrimp inhabits an estuary environment, has a slender body and lives freely, and is a species of long-armed shrimp. Subfamily, Brachybrachia genus.
Huang Dawei, a professor at Nankai University, said that the “amber shrimp” is the oldest true shrimp discovered so far, with gill grooves and gill spines on the head and breast carapace. It is helpful for studying the adaptive evolution of true shrimp species and for studying aquatic life. The transition of organisms from marine to freshwater environments provides clues.
The amber is currently stored in the Shi Tanji Museum in the Zhongguancun Library Building in Beijing and is open to the public. Relevant research papers have been recently published in Scientific Reports, an academic journal of Nature Publishing Group.