Ancient Insects Grew Bigger With More Oxygen, Study Reveals

November 2nd, 2010 - 9:33 pm ICT by GD  

By Gina Gomez
flyNov 2, (THAINDIAN NEWS) Giant bugs may appear revolting to some while fascinating for others. What was previously just a hypothesis is now a fact, with John VandenBrooks of Arizona State University having tested and confirmed the phenomenon of dragonflies increasing in size with higher amounts of oxygen.

While carrying out the experiments, the researchers took into account different insects who were studied under different concentration of oxygen. John VandenBrooks raised a group of bugs consisting of dragonflies,cockroaches, grasshoppers, meal worms, beetles in different levels of oxygen. The experiment showed that many species like dragonflies matured more quickly and became larger adults than those raised in lower amounts of oxygen. However, not all bugs reacted in the same manner to an increased amount of oxygen. Cockroaches raised in hyperoxia stayed in their larva for a longer amount of time and they did not grow any bigger than they already were. The secret, for dragonflies reacting in this manner to oxygen, may be in their hollow tracheal tubes that insects use for breathing. John VandenBrooks said that their main interest was in how the paleo-oxygen levels have influenced the evolution of insects. However, not many people would like to have scientists raise bigger platoons of bugs.

The study which was carried out by Arizona State University showed only ten out of twelve bugs not reacting positively in higher levels of oxygen. The findings of the study made headlines after it was presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America which is located in Denver.

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