The largest insect that ever lived was a terrifying predator that resembled a giant dragonfly. This A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ predator, Meganeuropsis, was distantly related to modern-day dragonflies, despite their uncanny resemblance. This giant dragonfly lived long before birds, bats, and pterosaurs evening existed. Where did this monstrosity come from and how did it get so big!?
The Giant Dragonfly.
This prehistoric predator was a primitive ancestor of modern-day dragonflies and it was much larger. This insect had a wingspan of two-foot. Pause and think about that for a second. Imagine a two-foot giant insect buzzing about. No thanks. Luckily, these creatures lived roughly 317 to 247 million years ago and probably wouldn’t survive in the current climate.
The giant dragonfly was one of the largest insects to ever exist with a body length of 17 inches. The fossils of Meganeura was discovered in France in 1180 and only two other specimens have ever been found.
How Did These Giant Dragonflies Get So Big?
There have been many controversial theories about how prehistoric insects were able to grow so large. This giant dragonfly existed in the Carboniferous era, before the days of dinosaurs so they wouldn’t have had many natural predators once they had grown to a substantial size. The atmosphere on Earth wasn’t the same as it is now – there was a higher level of oxygen and the earth was much warmer. It is thought that the Meganeuropsis would have laid their eggs in or near water, similar to the modern-day dragonfly. This would have helped to protect the larvae against the high levels of oxygen in the atmosphere. It is possible that the high level of oxygen also helped this A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ creature grow to such enormous size. The way that oxygen is diffused through an insect’s body, and tracheal system, determines the size that they can grow to. The discovery of many large prehistoric insects seems to suggest that they were not limited in the same ways that modern-day insects are.
What if there was more to it than high oxygen levels?
New research supports the possibility that a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s may have been able to travel to earth on space dust. British scientists that have studied the incredibly powerful movements of interplanetary dust have explained that this space dust can travel through space up to 70km per second. It is possible then, that any bio-particles floating the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, could be knocked free of the earth’s gravity by this incoming dust. This means that not only can bio-particles from other planets enter our atmosphere, bio-particles from our atmosphere are free to travel through space, and land on other planets.
Surely nothing could survive the journey?
Think again! There are some bacteria and even some plants that are capable of surviving the harsh conditions of space. There are even some hardy (to say the least) micro-animals called tardigrades, that are capable of making interplanetary journeys.
It is certainly worth considering then, that it is possible that a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ insects from another planet made its way to Earth and blossomed, giving birth to life on earth. If all life on earth itself didn’t stem from a rouge micro-organism from another planet, is it plausible that some organisms on earth did? When considering the sheer size of some of the creatures that lived on earth before humans arrived along, some of them, particularly the giant dragon, certainly appear to be from outer space.
Will We Ever Really Know If A̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s S̳e̳c̳r̳e̳t̳ly Lived On Earth?
It is believed that life on earth began with micro-organisms that lived underwater. According to this evolutionary theory, life on earth came about as a natural process involving non-living matter such as organic compounds. The details of this process are yet to be discovered but it is more likely to have been a lengthy evolutionary process rather than one single event. Or was it? It is possible that earth had one tiny visitor who made themselves at home, millions and millions of years ago and here we are. It certainly wouldn’t be unsurprising if it turned out that phenomenal creatures like the giant dragonfly was actually the descendant of an a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ insect that found its way to earth by accident!