Bug Blog

Teenager Discovers Signs Of Ancient Insect Life

Teenager Discovers Signs Of Ancient Insect Life

When we were attending school as children it seemed that there were some kids who were perfect in the eyes of the teacher. These students would always get straight A’s, volunteer for more homework and complain when school was canceled. At the time it may have been easy to disparagingly dismiss these talented kids as “teacher’s pets”, or “goody two shoes”. However, in retrospect, it would have been nice to be the smartest person in the classroom. In any case, everyone knows what sharing a classroom with an overachiever is like. However, it is probable that very few of you have ever had a classmate like Jasmina Scekic. Scekic found the very first prehistoric insect fossil to ever be found within one particular fossil bed in the US. Despite the dig site being open for a long time, no experts have ever found insect remains within the dig site, except for Scekic.

Scekic discovered the insects at the fossil bed while she was working on her independent study project with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. According to Christopher Noto, a paleontologist in the Parkside’s Biological Sciences Department, it is rare to find a high school student who can take part in independent study at a college, but a high school student whose research can be made into a project that can be presented coherently, is pretty much unheard of.

While doing independent study in Noto’s lab last fall, the sharp-minded student discovered termite coprolites at a dig site in Texas. This discovery was a big deal since no signs or forms of insect life had ever been found at the dig site before. Scekic, along with one hundred and twenty other gifted students, presented their scientific findings during Parkside’s student showcase. Scekic was the only high school student presenting her findings that day.

Would you be interested in exploring a fossil bed?