Beetles donated to Natural History Museum found to be 4,000 years old indicating climate used to be warmer
Rarely is finding a pair of wood-eating beetles in a dusty cabinet a cause for celebration. But when Natural History Museum curator Max Barclay chanced upon the dead insects, in one of the museum’s specimen drawers, he spotted an opportunity to solve a decades-old mystery: why a pair of foreign beetles had been submerged in an East Anglian bog. The answer sheds light on the state of the UK’s climate almost 4,000 years ago.
The beetles were donated to the collection in the 1970s, by an East Anglian farmer who found them inside a piece of old wood he had dug up in one of his fields, and was splitting for firewood. Alarmed by their size, and curved long, threadlike antennae, and concerned that his farm might be infested with wood-boring insects, he contacted the museum for advice.