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NDSU Antarctica research gains international media attention

Ashworth

The research of Allan Ashworth, emeritus University Distinguished Professor of geology, is featured in a new article on the British Broadcasting Corp. website and on phys.org.

The BBC article, “Rare Antarctic beetle find delights” can be found on the site’s science and environment section. It discusses Ball’s Antarctic Tundra Beetle, a fossilized specimen discovered on the Beardmore Glacier, near the Transantarctic Mountains. The beetle lived more than 14 million years ago, when the southernmost continent’s climate was much warmer.

"The fossils are so tiny that they would fit on a head of a pin, so finding them amongst the hundreds of pounds of rock that had to be sifted in the lab was like discovering the proverbial needle in a haystack,” Ashworth explained. “The scientific journey of discovery that followed, working with Terry Erwin at the Smithsonian Institution, was equally exciting. The fossils not only demonstrate that Antarctica was much warmer in the past, but is a proof that all the southern continents were joined together as Gondwana. And now for the global press to be interested is recognition that was unexpected."

Ashworth and Erwin believe the beetle lived on the banks of a stream fed by melting ice and snow. They published their research in the scientific journal Zookeys.

The phys.org article is titled, “Scientists discover the first Antarctic ground beetle. Images of Ashworth’s research on the Beardmore Glacier are also available.

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