Apparently cicadas serenaded the dinosaurs! Entomologist and Mount St. Joseph professor Gene Kritsky shared the news today that cicadas lived as long as 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.
A quote from a press release:
New research has documented that cicadas, those noisy insects that sing during the dog days of summer, have been screaming since the time of the dinosaurs.
A fossil of the oldest definitive cicada to be discovered was described by George Poinar, Jr., Ph.D., professor of zoology at Oregon State University and Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., professor of biology, at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. The cicada, measuring 1.26 mm in length, was named Burmacicada protera.
Here is a photo of the ancient Burmacicada protera cicada nymph trapped in amber. Photo credit: George Poinar, Jr., Ph.D.
It looks a lot like a modern-day first-instar cicada nymph:
Photo by Roy Troutman.
Update: Here’s a video news story about Gene’s fossil find.
I need a step-up my fossil collecting hobby. It looks like there’s some places in New Jersey to find fossils. Maybe I’ll find a cicada.