I was flipping through my Google Reader when I came across this Not Exactly Rocket Science post. I was immediately struck by the image (at left) — it appeared to me to be the fossil imprint of a giant dragonfly. Indeed, in a way, it is. This extinct insect, which is related to (but not the same as) today’s dragonflies, was found in fossil form in France in the 1880s.
To give his readers an idea of how big these beautiful predators were, science writer Ed Yong notes that “each of its wings was the length of my arm” (the PNAS article Yong is highlighting notes wingspans of up to 70 cm, or a little over 2.25 ft). Meganeura are believed to have fed on other insects and small amphibians.