skies. The first to do this were insects.
The earliest insects were very similar to silverfish. Silverfish are those shiny little insects that you sometimes see scurrying out from under a book or some old paper. They can't fly, so they are easy to catch.
But you try catching a fly or a dragonfly. It zips past you so fast you can hardly see it. The insects that took to the air were better able to escape their predators.
Some of the earliest insects got very, very big. This would have also helped stop them being eaten. Among the oldest flying insects are some dragonflies that had wingspans of over 70 cm - that's about the same as a cockatoo. A spider-like animal living at this time was up to 35 cm long. Its name is Megarachne, which (surprise, surprise) means 'giant spider'.
Arachne means spider, just add Mega! Think about it. A spider the size of a small cat. Perhaps better not to think about it?
The forests that these animals lived in were so dense and grew for so long that over millions of years they built up layer after layer of rotting leaves, branches, trunks. Eventually these hardened and turned into coal. The same thing happened again about 60 million years later, when huge forests covered the southern continents, including Australia. Much of Australia's electricity comes from coal. So the electricity powering the light you are reading this book by (assuming of course that it's night-time) comes from burning the remains of plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
So, there we have it. There is a link between bumper cars, mountain ranges, coal, electricity and insects the size of large parrots. You didn't believe me, did you?
Was this article helpful?