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49-Million-Year-Old Cockroach Fossil Found


A common European and African cockroach may have gotten its evolutionary start in North America, according to new fossil findings.

| January 9, 2014

A common European and African cockroach may have gotten its evolutionary start in North America, according to new fossil findings.

More than 70 species ofcockroaches in the genusEctobius currently crawl throughEurope and Africa, making them amongst the most common cockroaches in that part of the world. They measure only about 0.25 to 0.5 inches long (6.35 to 12.7 millimeters), considerably smaller than the American cockroaches (Periplaneta Americana) that can grow to about 1.5 in. long (4 centimeters) and plague major cities and small towns across the United States.

Researchers have previously thought that Ectobius first evolved in Europe and Africa, scuttling around the region since at least 44 million years ago, based on a specimen preserved in Baltic amber of this age.

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