Fine Cretaceous Nematoceran Insect Fossil

Nematocera (Midge)

Insect Order Diptera, Suborder Nematocera

Geological Time: Lower Cretaceous (~125-121 m.y.a.)

Size: Insect fossil is 13 mm long with wings, on shale 110 mm across at widest point

Fossil Site: Yixian Formation, Huangbangi Valley, Beipiao, Liaoning Province of China

Fossil Code: SI054

Price: Sold

Cretaceous Nematoceran Insect FossilYixian Formation in Liaoning Province in northeast China has remained one of the hottest paleontology study sites on earth the past two decades, and is perhaps most famous for discoveries of feathered dinosaurs. From feathered dinosaurs to birds to reptiles with color patterns, the fine lake silts of Liaoning preserved the Nematoceran Insectmost intricate of life from more than 100 million years ago. Relatively hard to preserve insects are well represented in the diverse Liaoning biota.

This Dipteran fossil is a gnat with many fine details preserved. It has been estimated that one million midges weigh one pound. Amazing then that such a tiny critter can be so pesty to humans, as they probably were to creatures of the Cretaceous. Amazing too that so delicate an animal could be so well preserved in the fine silt that formed Yixian. The piece of shale also contains a number of less well preserved insects and the ubuiquitous small fresh water clams common at the site.

Order Diptera comprise mosquitoes, gnats, midges and others flies. This huge insect order is estimated to have a quarter million species. Diptera are hypothsized to have evolved from Mecoptera with the first true Dipterans known from the fossil record in the Middle Triassic.

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