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'Dragonfly' imprint discovered

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Scientists have discovered what appears to be the oldest imprint of a prehistoric insect, made while the dragonfly-like creature was still alive.

The rare impression, found at a rocky outcrop near a U.S. shopping centre, is believed to have been made by a three-inch insect as it stood on the mud 312 million years ago.

‘It's not a dragonfly but picture a dragonfly-like body. We're looking at something related, maybe a mayfly. They have the same body plan,’ said the discoverer, Richard Knecht, a geology student at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

The imprint of the insect shows the thorax and abdomen, along with six legs, two of which may have moved slightly to create drag marks that hardened into burgundy-coloured stone.

The rock that contained the fossil, in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, broke off in Knecht's hands as he searched for an outcrop where four-digit footprints of an ancient amphibian were discovered the day before.

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