In a piece of Baltic amber about 50 million years old, research has uncovered an exoskeleton similar to that of a modern-day “walking stick” — evidence of an insect that literally was frightened out of its skin, and made its way to freedom just as it was about to become forever entombed by oozing tree sap.
“From what we can see in this fossil, a tiny mushroom was bitten off, probably by a rodent, at the base of a tree,” Poinar said. “An insect, similar to a walking stick, was probably also trying to feed on the mushroom. It appears to have immediately jumped out of its skin and escaped, just as tree sap flowed over the remaining exoskeleton and a hair left behind by the fleeing rodent.” More. Paper. (paywall) – George Poinar. A gilled mushroom, Gerontomyces lepidotus gen. et sp. nov. (Basidiomycota: Agaricales), in Baltic amber. Fungal Biology, 2016
Amber is low-tech reality media. But, of course, the main thing to see is that if elaborate mimicry arose much earlier than expected, Darwinian natural selection is even less likely to be the mechanism.
See also: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen
Follow UD News at Twitter!