‘Game Of Thrones’ Dragons Found In Papua New Guinea & Fiji! Creatures Product Of Evolution
A group of scientists has discovered two new species of ants with extraordinary features. These ants were named after two characters from the fantasy series Game of Thrones.Advertisement
The two newly discovered species of ants, Pheidole verison and Pheidole drogon, were named after the series’ Drogon and Viserion, two of the three pet dragons of Khaleesi.
800 Species of Ants
The two new species of ants were found in the vast rainforest of New Guinea. Aside from the two newly discovered species, the island is home to over 800 species of ants, around 60 percent of these species endemic to the island.
According to the study, recently published in the scientific journal Plos, the two species of ants, especially their peculiar features, were the product of evolution. The study was a joint effort by researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Graduate University and University of Michigan’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
The researchers were able to magnify the unique features of the ants, which led to their discovery, by using a 3D imaging technology called X-ray Microtomography. A careful inspection of the ants’ features reveals some special adaptations.
“Our findings suggest the pronotal spines of Pheidole majors, are possibly skeletomuscular adaptations for supporting their disproportionately large heads. The ‘head support hypothesis’ is an alternative to the mechanical defense hypothesis most often used to explain spinescence in ants,” an excerpt of the study reads.
The Pheidole ants are considered soldier ants equipped with highly-evolved spikes that ornamented their exoskeleton. These features, according to the researchers, serve different purposes for the ants’ survival.