Humans Just Got the First Glimpse of a Live T. Rex Ant

Fourteen years after the species was discovered, the carnivorous T. Rex ant has just been seen alive for the first time. The finding has answered many of scientists’ most pressing questions about the insect, but also left many mysteries unsolved.

A single dead Tyrannomyrmex Rex ant was found in Malaysia in 2003, prompting its classification as a new species. The explorer named the tiny creature after an enormous dinosaur because its undersized mandibles reminded him of the arms of a T. Rex. Since then, other dead T. Rex ants have been seen in Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, and possibly the Philippines, all accidentally found in leaf litter.

Now we finally have a living example. Explorer Mark Wong came upon a colony of T. Rex ants while literally digging around a forest in Singapore. “The best way to collect and observe live ground ant colonies is to really get your hands dirty, by gradually excavating the soil from an area, layer by layer — sort of like an archaeologist,” he told National Geographic.

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