Fossil beetle. A fossilized beetle, order Coleoptera, preserved in stone. Fossilization occurs when an organism is buried and its body structures are slowly replaced by minerals. Sometimes, in the absence of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water in the organism's tissues are liberated until only free carbon remains. This leaves a dark outline or impression of the organism (as seen here). Insects made their first appearance in geological history in the Devonian period, between 395 and 345 million years ago. Magnification: x2.25 at 35mm size.
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