Well, This Is Terrifying: Science Breeds Giant Dragonflies In Laboratory

11.04.10 7 years ago 4 Comments

Sort of like this only without as many berets.

The extent of my grasp on geology, especially alongside my understanding of entomology, is best summarized by my latest thesis: a long time ago…planet Earth was covered in all kinds of scary sh*t, not to mention giant bugs, but thank God because everything died off. *wipes brow* There, see? All those years in the classroom trenches and that’s all I’ve walked away with. Well, apparently I never attended school with villainously-named Dr. John VandenBrooks, some guy who doesn’t realize that the Paleozoic Era is over and that he shouldn’t be breeding giant dragonflies in his Arizona-based laboratory.

…Dr John VandenBrooks, who has after a lengthy struggle managed to breed such much-enlarged dragonflies in his Arizona laboratory. The large size was achieved by enhancing atmospheric oxygen levels to 31 per cent, as seen in the Paleozoic (today’s air is only about 20 per cent O2).

The hard bit, according to the prof, was not the creation of this artificially enriched (or “hyperoxic”) atmosphere but the actual care and feeding of the monstrous, prehistoric winged flesh-eaters.

“Dragonflies are notoriously difficult to rear,” boasts VandenBrooks. “We are one of the only groups to successfully rear them to adulthood under laboratory conditions.” [TheRegisterUK]

Before mass hysteria breaks out, it should be noted that despite the size of your average Paleozoic-based dragonfly, the ones that VandenBrooks is cooking up are only 15% larger than your average bugger. True story, the lab also tried to breed larger cockroaches, under the same conditions, however were unsuccessful…so far. You know, despite my cool-as-a-cucumber persona, I personally find this news to be kinda’ disturbing. I don’t do well with creepy crawlies, however I am pretty good at utilizing the words in my vernacular that a six-year-old would disperse to describe little bugs.

Extra hugs to Gizmodo for the tip. Pic via.

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