- (Photo: Twitter/Lobster Academy)
A rare species of insect known as the "tree lobster" has been found alive and well after being declared extinct.
For over 80 years no one had seen the insect, which gets its name because it actually does look like a lobster. In 2001 Australian researchers began investigating claims that the tree lobster was alive on a small island known as Ball's Pyramid. Researches Nick Carlile and David Priddel were surprised to see the insect alive, clinging to a rock larger than the Empire State Building.
"It felt like stepping back into the Jurassic age, when insects ruled the world," said Carlile.
The pair brought back two pairs of lobsters for procreation and further research. Unfortunately, one of the pair died after being brought to the lab. According to a report by ZME Science, there are 11,376 tree lobster babies in incubation.
"The insect spends six months incubating-when it's time to leave the egg, the animal literally (and hypnotically) unfolds," notes Rohan Cleave of the Melbourne Zoo. The parents of the latest lobster babies are nicknamed Adam and Eve; Eve had it rough when she first transitioned to life in the lab.
"Eve became very, very sick. Patrick [Honan of the zoo's breeding group] worked every night for a month desperately trying to cure her. Eventually, based on gut instinct, Patrick concocted a mixture that included calcium and nectar and fed it to his patient, drop by drop, as she lay curled up in his hand," wrote Jane Goodall.
"She went from being on her back curled up in my hand, almost as good as dead, to being up and walking around within a couple of hours," Patrick told the Australian Broadcasting Company.
Fans of science have been busy tweeting their enthusiasm of the tree lobster's revival. "Amazing! A parable for our time: near-extinct 'tree lobster' discovered on an isolated rock in the Tasman Sea" noted John Vaillant. Molly Ball added, "This is so, so cool!"