Photograph and diagram of a partially damaged wing fossil from <em>Dysagrionites species B</em> collected by Bruce Archibald from Driftwood Canyon. The new species in a member of a new suborder of extinct insects related to dragonflies and damselflies. (Contributed photo)

Photograph and diagram of a partially damaged wing fossil from Dysagrionites species B collected by Bruce Archibald from Driftwood Canyon. The new species in a member of a new suborder of extinct insects related to dragonflies and damselflies. (Contributed photo)

Newly identified extinct insect suborder includes new species from Driftwood Canyon

The suborder related to dragonflies and damselflies were previously misidentified as damselflies

Driftwood Canyon fossils are once again contributing to a new understanding of an ancient era.

In a paper published in late February in the journal Zootaxa, a research team led by Simon Fraser University’s Bruce Archibald identified a new extinct group of insects related to dragonflies and damselflies.

When Archibald and others started finding the fossils around British Columbia and Washington state, they initially thought they were damselflies, but the heads weren’t right.

Damselflies have short and wide heads with eyes distinctively protruding far to each side, whereas these had rounded heads and eyes.

READ MORE: 50 million year old bird comes home to roost

The scientists noted they bore a great resemblance to a fossil German paleontologist Hermann Hagen wrote about in 1858.

“Paleontologists since Hagen had written that these were damselflies with distorted heads,” Archibald said. “A few hesitated, but still assigned them to the damselfly suborder.”

After studying 150 years worth of literature the researchers recognized what they were looking at was actually a new suborder, which they named Cephalozygoptera, meaning “head damselfly.”

The paper identifies four new genera and 16 new species of Cephalozygoptera including one Archibald collected in Driftwood canyon named Dysagrionites species B.

“They were important elements in food webs of wetlands in ancient British Columbia and Washington about 50 million years ago, after the extinction of the dinosaurs,” said Archibald. “Why they declined and went extinct remains a mystery.”

The Driftwood fossil resides at the Royal British Columbia Museum.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Driftwood Canyon and Archibald were also in the news in 2019 when he brought home an ancient bird fossil from Germany where it had resided for nearly 50 years.

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Northern Health launches virtual primary care clinic

Northerners without a family physician or nurse practitioner will now have access to primary care

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Most Read