Wet’suwet’en Nation Elders worked with Simon Fraser University and Russian Academy of Science researchers to name a new fossil species. The green lacewing insect fossil, found in Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park near Smithers, is now known as Archaeochrysa sanikwa.
“The Wet’suwet’en word sanikwa refers to the transformation of insects and suggests the appearance of this very ancient insect in our time,” said Bruce Archibald, a SFU biologist, who says collaborating with the Wet’suwet’en was “invaluable.”
Archibald became aware of the deep connection between the Wet’suwet’en Nation and Driftwood Canyon Park during a 2010 Parks Day celebration, reads a press release. He and Russian researcher Vladimir N. Makarkin hoped participation by the Elders in the naming process would help to emphasize the connection.
“The importance of remains such as this is that this shows the evolution of species since the time that this land was created for the Wet’suwet’en,” said Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale).
Green lacewings, insects of the family Chrysopidae, are found across much of the globe. They are considered beneficial by gardeners and farmers because of their appetite for aphids and other plant pests.
“We are very excited about the Wet’suwet’en name for this fossil,” said John Howard with B.C. Parks. “It demonstrates the historical connection between the land and the people.”