New fossils found in Northeastern China have revealed a remarkable evolutionary coincidence: an extinct group of insects known as Kalligrammatid lacewings (Order Neuroptera) share an uncanny resemblance to modern day butterflies (Order Lepidoptera). Even though they vanished some 50 million years before butterflies appeared on earth, they possess the same wing shape and pigment hues, wing spots and eyespots, body scales, long proboscides, and similar feeding styles as butterflies.A photo of the modern owl butterfly (“Caligo Memnon”) shown beside a fossilized Kalligrammatid lacewing (“Oregramma illecebrosa”) shows some of the convergent features independently evolved by the two distantly-related insects, including wing eyespots and wing scales. (Butterfly photo by James Di Loreto/fossil photo by Conrad Labandeira and Jorge Santiago-Blay)In an incredible example of convergent evolution, both butterflies and kalligrammatids evol
Kenyan flower farmer Jack Kneppers was forced on Monday to throw 6.5 tons of his exquisite roses into a compost pit after flights headed for Europe were canceled because of the ash cloud. Kenya’s horticulture industry has already lost $12 million to the European airspace closure and it will take several weeks to recover even if flights resume now, its association of exporters said. Kneppers’ farm by picturesque Lake Naivasha in southwest Kenya produces 11 varieties of pristine roses worth tens of thousands of dollars every day. “We have to throw them into big pits and turn them into compost,” Kneppers said, standing in front of rows of boxes full of flowers that he fears will meet the same fate.