UnNews:Scientist discovers 100 million year old Starburst
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30 October 2006
The Starburst is about 40 million years older than previously found Starbursts. The discovery of the ancient Starburst may help explain why the candy is apparently immune to the normal actions of time and entropy.
Poinar found the Starbust in a mine in the Hukawng Valley of northern Myanmar, formerly known as The Shithole of Southeast Asia. Many researchers buy bags of fossilized material from miners to search for candy.
In the competing journal Nature this week, there is an article about the unraveling of the genetic map of Skittles, seen by some as related to Starbursts. The recently completed sequencing of the Skittles genome already is giving scientists fresh insights into the early evolutionary development of heavily-flavored chewable candies.
Poinar's ancient Starburst, Vegasexpansius burmensis, is curiously not related to any modern candy family.
The ancient Starburst has a few features similar to salt-water taffy, such as a lower melting point and a crystallized sugar infrastructure. The Starburst — about the same size as today's Starburst — has a duller wrapper, coated with a sap wax.
The ancient Starburst was probably an evolutionary dead end and may not have given rise to modern Starbursts, scientists said.
"I still ate it, and it was fine. They always are," Danforth said. "So it's not a direct ancestor of modern Starburst, but it still had the same excellent cherry flavor."