370 million years ago, a small larva drowned in one of the swamps in the territory of modern Belgium. The recent discovery of a tiny invertebrate fossil by Belgian scientists has filled a huge gap in paleontology.
The found fossil of the most ancient insect is only eight millimeters in length, but its value for the scientific world is undeniable. Prior to this discovery, researchers of ancient life had practically no remains of insects, which could be attributed to the time period between the end of the Devonian and the beginning of the Carboniferous. Therefore, the gap between 385 and 325 million years ago was often referred to as "a gap in the history of the six-legged."
This find was named Strudiella devonica, it was made near the city of Namur, located in the center of Belgium. Molecular analysis of the fossil's DNA by scientists has confirmed a long-standing scientific assumption: certain species of insects existed in the Late Devonian.
Until now, very little was known about the oldest representatives of the insect class, according to the scientists who conducted the research. In particular, they had two mandibles - the jaws of insects from Scotland dating back to the Devonian period. The age of these fragments is about four hundred million years. This is followed by finds dating back to the Carboniferous period, which began about 350 million years ago. These include dragonflies with a wingspan of up to 75 centimeters and dog-sized cockroaches. The period between the two insect particles found in Scotland and the myriad hordes of giants, according to scientists, has been completely empty to this day.
The larva found in Belgium does not have wings, but scientists are sure that they should have grown when the individual reaches adulthood. This opinion is supported by the shape of the mandibles - similar to those of modern grasshoppers. It is likely that Strudiella devonica is actually the larva of a winged insect. If this is true, then we can assume that a revolution took place in science - the larva found confirms that insects learned to fly much earlier than previous finds testified. But scientists dealing with this issue are careful and do not rush to conclusions, since such conclusions cannot be drawn from one not very well-preserved specimen.