Sealed away in an amber prison for all time, this evil "Hell Ant" looks like it can't wait to break free and devour its next victim.
This 99-million-year-old piece of amber from Myanmar contains a specimen of Linguamyrmex vladi and is kept safe in the American Museum of Natural History. They found several with dates ranging from 99 to 78 million years ago during the late Cretaceous Period, meaning these devilish creatures walked the earth for 20 million years.
New Jersey Institute of Technology's evolutionary biologist Philip Barden and his team found this in Myanmar. They noticed that instead of the usual ant mouth, this one has tusk-like blades pointing upwards and a large metal horn! Reminiscent of Vlad the Impaler, this ancient Hell Ant would use these tusks to lift its prey onto its horn to impale them. What's even more gruesome is it would use the groove in its jaws to channeling other insects' blood into its mouth while wriggling on the hellish spike.
Besides these viscous offensive weapons, the Hell Ant also has armor. Its head is equipped with a plate naturally reinforced with metal that stops its own or an enemy's blades from piercing through.
“This reinforcement occurs primarily along the center of the paddle and, as the specimen is preserved with the mandibles largely ‘closed’ and positioned near this spot, suggests that the reinforcement is intended to accommodate mandibular impact,” explain Barden's team.
Talk about a monster! If this is what a prehistoric ant was like, I'm dreading what creatures may be hidden in other amber tombs. What a relief that none of them are around today. Scientists agree that their specialized predatory behavior and attack strategy are not found among today's ant species.