Oregramma illecebrose probably resembled modern butterflies.
A newly discovered butterfly predates even the earliest versions of the butterflies around today and was around at the time of the dinosaurs.
Oregramma illecebrose probably looked and acted like a butterfly, but it was around a lot longer ago — beating out even the earliest of today’s insects by a whopping 40 million years, according to a UPI report.
The fossils of these butterfliees were discovered in lake deposits in China and eastern Kazakhstan dating back 165 million years, placing it smack dab in the time of the dinosaurs. Scientists say they are an example of convergent evolution where two related species adapt independently in a similar way.
This extinct lacewing type butterfly came from the genus Kalligrammatid and had large wings with eyespots much like you would see in a modern butterfly, and it also had a long tongue meant for collecting nectar in flowers. But it was still quite different from modern butterflies.
Small bits of food and pollen were found in the proboscis of this ancient insect, helping scientists understand more about their foraging behaviors.
From the news release: “IU paleobotanist David Dilcher is a co-author on a study out today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: B that identifies a Jurassic age insect whose behavior and appearance closely mimic a butterfly – but whose emergence on Earth predates the butterfly by about 40 million years.
“Dilcher — who made international headlines last year for his role in discovering the mythical “first flower” — said these proverbial “first butterflies” survived in a similar manner as their modern sister insects by visiting plants with “flower-like” reproductive organs producing nectar and pollen.”