Oldest flying fossil found, according to an article on ABC News in Science 6 April 2011 and PNAS 10.1073/pnas.1015948108 4 April 2011. Insects are believed by evolutionists to be the first creatures that evolved flight, but the fossil evidence for when this happened is scanty. Richard Knecht of Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology has found the fossilised full body impression of a flying insect in rocks from the Late Carboniferous Wamsutta Formation of Massachusetts, dated as 312 million years old. This makes it the oldest fossil of a flying insect and it appears to be the full body impression of a Mayfly that has landed in mud. Previous fossil evidence of insects consisted of mostly wings or fragments of body parts. Conrad Labandeira, curator of palaeoentomology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC commented: “Most fossil insects, when you look at them, you don’t really have a lot of surface detail. This is a very valuable type of preservation. You can actually see some of the movements of the appendages. This gives you some idea of the scope of movement of the legs … That gives you some information that we don’t normally get from body fossils”.


Editorial Comment: This fossil is a “trace fossil” i.e. an impression left by the activity of an animal, rather than the buried remains of the animal. The impression had to be made in soft sediment, and then rapidly covered over by another layer of sediment, which then hardened quickly in order for the impression to be preserved. As such, trace fossils remind us that fossils are not made over time, but by the right physical/chemical processes happening quickly.

The fossil certainly seems to be made by a fully formed Mayfly, and if it really is the oldest fossil Mayfly it therefore provides no evidence for evolution. Since Mayflies are still here this fossil actually proves that from the time this imprint was formed until now, Mayflies have reproduced after their kind. It really does fit the Biblical description of the origin of living things, i.e. created as fully functioning organisms in distinct and unrelated kinds. (Ref. arthropods, fossilisation, invertebrates, palaeontology)

Evidence News 20 April 2011