The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Local Farmer Bags Prehistoric Bug

Greene County farmer Cooter Hoyle found something interesting in his chicken coop last Friday. A three-foot-long grasshopper was making lunch of his prize rooster. After bagging him with his 20-gauge, he called authorities and reported the incident. Eventually, paleontologists from the University of Iowa were brought in. Cooter showed them the photo he took holding the dead bug.

When DNA samples of the creature were examined, it was determined that Hoyle had shot an insect that was long thought to be extinct - known scientifically as Orthoptera Tridactyloid - and found throughout the area during the Jurassic and late Mesozoic eras. It was thought to have died out perhaps 60 - 100 million years ago. This would make the find a major news story.

Unfortunately, when Hoyle was asked what he did with the creature, he replied, "I fed him to the hogs. He had absolutely no business messing around with my chickens. What do you expect?" He went on to say that any future animals that invade his chicken farm will also be shot and destroyed on sight. "I don't care how rare you say they are. Folks around here protect their chickens."

The body of a prehistoric bug, if found alive, would be worth possibly millions of dollars, stated one of the paleontologists. Even dead, the scientific value would be enormous. People are urged to stop shooting these creatures and try to keep them alive.

Rick Bland, 09-17-2010