Reflecting on this memory today, I began to wonder what kind of flies are preserved in amber - they must be very old. How do they compare to the flies and bugs which populate our world today?
I consulted Wikipedia where I discovered the oldest amber recovered dates to the Upper Carboniferous period - that’s around 320 million years ago - very old indeed!
Browsing farther around the internet I discovered that these mysterious lumps of resin are more than just curious objects.
I was intrigued to learn that flies fossilised in amber are aiding scientists in a number of ways ...
“The scientific team could also examine the fly more closely to determine details about the specimen and learn more about its adaptations. In addition to a long “tongue,” a feature zhangsolvid flies share with modern pollinators like hawk moths and orchid bees, the flies also have wings that are well suited for hovering. That’s helpful to pollinators since getting a meal involves flying next to the same spot for a moment, as demonstrated in this animated recreation of zhangsolvid feeding.”
I have an image in my mind of a glass of akvavit with lumps of amber instead of ice cubes, the fly inclusion being the equivalent of the mezcal tequila worm!