Crane Fly Insect Fossil from Yixian Formation

Crane fly

Insect Order Diptera, Suborder Nematocera, Superfamily Tipuloidea, Family Tipulidae

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

Size: Insect fossil is 8 mm long on 80 mm by 40 mm matrix

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

Fossil Code: SI049

Price: $65.00


Yixian 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 most 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 known as a crane fly and has many fine details preserved. It has been estimated that one million midges weigh one pound. Amazing that so delicate an animal could be so well preserved in the fine silt that formed Yixian.

Order Diptera comprise mosquitoes, gnats, midges and others flies. This huge insect order is estimated to have a quarter million species. 240,000 species of mosquitoes, gnats, midges and others, although under half of these (about 120,000 species) have been described. 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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