EARLY IN­SECTS

Mayflies first emerged be­fore the di­nosaurs.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild May -

The most prim­i­tive fly­ing in­sects alive to­day, mayflies share many fea­tures with their an­cient rel­a­tives. Due to their short lives and frail na­ture, most fos­sils of their an­ces­tors pre­serve the nymphs. But there are a few fos­sils of adults in rock or am­ber; the old­est, dat­ing back 312 mil­lion years, was found in sed­i­men­tary rocks in Mas­sachusetts, US. Re­mark­ably, this ex­tremely rare fos­sil is the im­print left by an adult mayfly, rather than the fos­silised re­mains of the crea­ture it­self. Pre­sum­ably it touched down in mud be­fore fly­ing offff.

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