Ancient Giant Dragonfly (Genus: Meganeura) - Wiki
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[Photo] Meganeura as it appeared in Walking with Monsters.
Meganeura monyi was a prehistoric insect of the Carboniferous period (300 million years ago), resembling and related to the present-day dragonfly. With a wingspan of more than 75 cm (2 feet) wide, it was the largest known flying insect species to ever appear on Earth. (The Permian Meganeuropsis permiana is another contender). It was predatory, feeding on small amphibians and other insects.
Fossils were discovered in the Stephanian Coal Measures of Commentry in France in 1880; in 1885, French paleontologist Charles Brongniart described and named the fossil. Another fine fossil specimen was found in Bolsover, Derbyshire, in 1979. The holotype is housed in the Mus??um National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
Controversy has prevailed as to how insects of the Carboniferous period were able to grow so large. The way oxygen is diffused through the insect's body via its tracheal breathing system puts an upper limit on body size, which prehistoric insects seem to have well exceeded. It was originally proposed (Harl?? & Harl??, 1911) that Meganeura was only able to fly because the atmosphere at that time contained more oxygen than the present 20%. This theory was dismissed by fellow scientists, but has found approval more recently through further study into the relationship between gigantism and oxygen availability (Chapelle & Peck, Nature, 1999). If this theory is correct, these insect giants would have been perilously susceptible to falling oxygen levels and certainly could not survive in our modern atmosphere. The word Meganeura means "large-veined", referring to the network of veins on the wings.
Meganeura appears briefly in BBC's Walking With Monsters in which it snatches a small reptile from a giant spider.
Meganeura also appears in iTV's Prehistoric Park and lived in a big glass dome built for it.
Meganulon is an insect Kaiju based on the fossil animal featured in two Toho kaiju films, Rodan, the Flying Monster and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
A giant dragonfly that may have been Meganeura was featured briefly in the novel version of Jurassic Park.
In the games Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Yanma's evolved form Yanmega is based upon the ancient dragonfly, Meganeura.
A modern-day dragonfly devolves into Meganeura after feeding on the fluid of an irradiated Coelacanth in the film Monster on the Campus.
Meganeura is a scientific periodical about fossil insects: see http://www.ub.es/dpep/meganeura/meganeura.htm .
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