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The oldest complete fossil insect published in the journal Nature

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Romain Garrouste, Gaël Clément, Patricia Nel, Michael S. Engel, Philippe Grandcolas, Cyrille D’Haese, Linda Lagebro, Julien Denayer, Pierre Gueriau, Patrick Lafaite, Sébastien Olive, Cyrille Prestianni, André Nel. A complete insect from the Late Devonian period. Nature 488, 82-85, 2 août 2012.

Insects are already very diverse from the Carboniferous (-325 million years (Ma) ago), but the fossil record only includes a few insect older remains and no complete animal. The origin of this major group therefore remains mysterious while some phylogenetic reconstructions place the onset of insects far before the Carboniferous, probably even in the Silurian (-425 Ma). The Strud deposit (province of Namur, Belgium), dated Upper Devonian (-365 Ma) and known as one of the few places in the world with early tetrapods, recently delivered the complete fossil of a small insect. Named Strudiella devonica, this unique fossil confirms the existence of a first phase of diversification in insects before the Carboniferous.

(C) R. Garrouste, MNHN

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