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02/18/03

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Unfrozen Caveman Ant Thaws Out History


BANGOR, Maine (DPI) - Paleoentomologists are hailing what may be the most significant insect find ever: the body of an ant frozen into the ice buildup in a 1950s-era freezer. "I can't overstate the importance of this discovery," said the University of Finland's Gunter Heikkonnen, who is leading an international team of scholars. "It could be the missing link between Cro-Maggot and Neanderoach." No one knows for sure when the Frigidaire was last thawed. It came with the mobile home Althea Hutchins inherited when her mother, who picked it up off someone's lawn during the city's annual white-goods pickup, died five years ago. Heikkonnen estimated the ant could have been there as long as 14 years. Hutchins, 49, said the ice was there when she took ownership. "I opened the door to chisel out a Hungry Man dinner, oh, three nights ago now, and this chunk fell off," said Hutchins. "There was this bug, just laying there. Just think, when it was crawling around in there, Bush was president and we were going to war in Iraq. I wonder what I might find when I get around to cleaning my Radarange."




(Reported by Peg Warner)



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