Chinese scientists have discovered the oldest known fossil of a pair of insects caught in the act of copulating, according to a study released Wednesday.
The imprint of the male and female froghoppers, lying belly to belly, was dug up in northeastern China. The fossil is believed to be 165 million years old, said the report in the journal PLOS ONE.
The insects got their name because they jump around on plants and shrubs much like little frogs.
“On the mating pair, the male?s aedeagus is inserted inside the bursa copulatrix of the female,” said the study led by scientists at the Key Laboratory of Insect Evolution and Environmental Changes at Capital Normal University in Beijing.
The rare fossil shows “the earliest record of copulating insects hitherto,” and “sheds light on the evolution of mating behavior in this group of insects,” it added.
Namely, it shows that the creatures’ genitalia and mating position have stayed the same for more than 165 million years, the authors said.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China
Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.
Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.
Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs
President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.
At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.
But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.
"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.
G7 wrestles with Iran, Amazon fires and trade, but own unity shaky
G7 leaders close their summit Monday with discussion of world problems including the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest, but overshadowed by President Donald Trump's trade wars and questions over the group's unity.
The summit in Biarritz, a high-end surfers' paradise in southwestern France, saw a dramatic shift of focus Saturday when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew in to discuss the diplomatic deadlock on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
Zarif's presence had not been expected and it represented a gamble by French host Emmanuel Macron who is seeking to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.