A living fossil found in Namibia

AN ALAVESIA FLY:

Researchers have discovered two living species—so recently that they have yet to be named—of this Alavesia fly, a genus that had previously only been seen preserved in Cretaceous-era amber in Spain and Burma.

The flies, captured in dry streambeds along Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg Massif, have wings only about 0.08 inch (two millimeter) long. The discovery came out of a 2002 bug inventory on the plateau-like mountain (which predates the separation of the southernmost four continents) that also yielded a new suborder of carnivorous insects known as Mantophasmatodea. The new species of this ancient “dance fly” genus were only recognized by researchers Bradley Sinclair, an entomologist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Ashley Kirk-Spriggs, who leads the Entomology department at the South Africa National Museum, in 2007.

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