Dragonfly fossil, about 150 million years old, in Solnhofen, Bavaria, Germany
© Ingo Arndt/Minden Picture
In praise of the old … the very old
It's rare to find a fossil so well preserved, but this one was discovered in Solnhofen, Germany, where limestone deposits have revealed some of the most detailed fossils ever found—including the bird-like dinosaur called Archaeopteryx. This dragonfly was preserved in the Solnhofen limestone about 150 million years ago in the Jurassic Period. It measures about 14 centimetres across.
There are about a dozen Archaeopteryx fossils found in Solnhofen's Jurassic-era limestone, and the most detailed of them show a surprisingly small dinosaur, about the size of a raven. Why is it famous? It revealed the Archeopteryx had a long tail like other dinosaurs, but also feathers, indicating its link between dinosaurs and modern birds.