In the years after dinosaurs and before humans, Planet Earth was a weird place full of weird, mostly forgotten creatures — like this terrifying, meat-eating plant.
Scientists working in Russia have discovered a plant that was trapped in amber at some point between 34-47 million years ago. The weird part? The plant appears to be carnivorous, featuring leaves with tentacle-esque hairs with a sticky goo designed to trap insects. According to Popular Science, the preserved plant is one of the first viable examples of carnivorous plant traps.
Researchers note that the leaves’ frozen tentacles actually still have some organic matter on them, and they believe the plant is likely a very early ancestor of the carnivorous plants we know today as Roridula plants. Inside, the plant uses “Roridula bugs” to digest the captured insects, and the plant lives off the nutrients from the insects’ feces by absorbing them. Yeah, gross.
The findings were published in a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and we can most definitely say we would not want to stumble upon one of these little creatures during a time-travel trek to the distant past.
Check out the critter above, and be sure not to let it haunt your nightmares.
(Via Popular Science)