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Description popularizing the research project
Our planet is inhabited by no fewer than several million animal species, so far only 2 million have been described. Tiny mammals coexist with huge insects. Air is the element filled with insects, birds, mammals, even spiders and fishes and reptiles as well. It is quite probable that they do occasionally meet. Underground teems with mammals, larvae, birds, amphibians and ringed worms. It is easy to imagine that representatives of most types of animals do meet in one cubic metre of biosphere they share.
Baissa is one of the best known places where imprints of insects come from. The outcrop is located in the Asian part of Russia, in the West Transbaikalia, on the bank of the Vitim River. The main aims of the research was to study the morphological and taxonomical differences among aphids from Baissa and determine the systematic position of the existing ones and newly described genera and species. Material for the study comprised 526 aphid specimens from the collection of The Institute of Palaeontology, Russian Academy of Science in Moscow. The imprints were photographed under the light and the scanning microscope. Subsequently, the photographs were the subject of the computer processing with the Adobe Photoshop program. Morphological comparative analysis of Lower Cretaceous aphids allowed to distinguish many new taxa which have new combination of features that have not been mentioned so far. The paper includes descriptions of 76 taxa of different rank, including: 1 new family, 19 new genera and 45 new species. The general body structure of Early Cretaceous aphids is the same as in the other Mesozoic and recent aphids. The body structure typical for aphids developed very early in the evolution of this insect group (during the Jurassic period, 150-140 million years ago) and it remains almost not altered to this day. Only some parts of the body underwent small modifications (epicranium, antennae, rhinaria, ovipositor). 140 million years of unchanged body structure