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Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

  • Some Theorize It Went Extinct Because Of Atmospheric Changes on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#10) Some Theorize It Went Extinct Because Of Atmospheric Changes

    Scientists believe a higher concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere let insects grow larger in the past. Researchers found a direct connection between oxygen levels and wingspans for over 10,000 fossilized insects spanning the past 320 million years. 

    Many of the biggest insects were lost during the Permian period, around 250 million years ago. The Permian Extinction wiped out 90% of species on Earth. It also coincided with a change in the Earth's atmosphere which saw oxygen levels decline.

    One study suggested Meganeura might have been sluggish and underperforming in the thinner air; newer, faster species might have driven it to its end. 

  • It Was Much Slower Than Modern Dragonflies on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#7) It Was Much Slower Than Modern Dragonflies

    Meganeura was much more enormous than today's dragonflies, and with a wingspan of nearly 2.5 feet, it dwarfed most flying insects in history. But that size significantly impeded the prehistoric creature's movements.

    Scientists suggest Meganeura moved more slowly than modern dragonflies because of the extra bulk.

  • It Had Huge Eyes on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#5) It Had Huge Eyes

    Like today's dragonflies, Meganeura had highly evolved eyes. The prehistoric insect's eyes were incredibly large; they helped the creature scout out prey.

    When Meganeura spotted a frog or other favorable food source, it struck with sharp leg spines and mandibles.

  • Its Size May Have Been Due To The Atmosphere's Composition on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#8) Its Size May Have Been Due To The Atmosphere's Composition

    Why were prehistoric insects so much larger than modern ones? Scientists believe higher oxygen concentrations contributed to their increased sizes. Dragonflies don't have lungs; instead, they breathe through a series of tubes. Because of this, the higher levels of oxygen in the prehistoric atmosphere made it easier for large insects to breathe.

    Today, the atmosphere consists of 21% oxygen; 300 million years ago, oxygen made up 35% of the natural gases. Scientists hypothesize Meganeura and other enormous insects went extinct because the atmosphere's oxygen levels decreased. 

  • Meganeura Fossils Were First Discovered In France In 1880 on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#12) Meganeura Fossils Were First Discovered In France In 1880

    Explorers uncovered the first Meganeura fossil in France in 1880. It took five years for researchers to name the creature, but in 1885, French paleontologist Charles Brongniart dubbed the massive prehistoric dragonfly Meganeura because of its large-veined wings. 

    Additional Meganeura fossils turned up in both France and England

  • It Was About A Quarter Of The Size Of An Average Human on Random Facts About 'Meganeura' That Was A Prehistoric Dragonfly With A Two-Foot Wingspan

    (#1) It Was About A Quarter Of The Size Of An Average Human

    About the size of an eagleMeganeura was one of the biggest insects in history. It had a wingspan of nearly 2.5 feet. Even the common name for Meganeura points to its size - rather than calling Meganeura a dragonfly, scientists dubbed it a "griffinfly." 

    The massive wingspan of the prehistoric creature stretched wider than most adult men today and taller than some toddlers. 

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Related research shows that the Meganeura dragonfly is an insect that lived in the Carboniferous, and is similar in appearance to modern dragonflies. With its wings spread up to 75 cm, it is the largest insect species that have ever appeared on earth but Meganeura was extinct as early as 250 million years ago in the Permian Period. 

In the Carboniferous period, the climate was warm and humid, and the earth became a paradise for all living things. Prehistoric dragonfly is not only huge in size but also fly fast. With the random tool, you could learn 13 fun facts about Meganeura.

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