The life cycles of fig trees and fig wasps are so closely intertwined, they look like they were made for each other. If this is true, then their fossils would be quite similar to modern forms, showing no history of imagined evolutionary past. And recent research on a fig wasp fossil shows exactly that.
The ancient insect impression was discovered in the 1920s on the Isle of Wight, which is located in the English Channel, but it has only recently been studied in detail. Initially misidentified as an ant, it was the subject of a study published in Biology Letters conducted by University of Leeds researcher Steve Compton, whose “main study system over the years has been fig trees and their associated animals, particularly the fig wasps that pollinate them.”1 He gave his assessment of the newly identified wasp fossil in a university report:
What makes this fossil fascinating is not just its age, but that it is so similar to the modern species. This means that the complex relationship that exists today between the fig wasps and their host trees developed more than 34 million years ago and has remained unchanged since then.2
The wasp and fig relationship is an example of “obligate mutualism,” in which each organism depends on and would eventually die without the other. As the fig fruit develops, its central chamber contains many small flowers inside, where fig wasps also spend much of their lives….
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