KAJ R. SVENSSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KAJ R. SVENSSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fossil moth. A fossilized moth preserved in mud- 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. The earliest examples of the order Lepidoptera, the butterflies and moths, date from the Cretaceous period, 100-130 million years ago. Photographed in British Columbia, Canada.
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