This is a replica fossil of a "protolindenia wittei" dragonfly that lived in the Jurassic period around 135 million years ago. These dragonflies had wingspans of about 15cm. It is part of the Science Department collection.
Adult dragonflies are characterized by large multifaceted eyes, and two pairs of strong transparent wings, sometimes with coloured patches and an elongated body. Many dragonflies have brilliant iridescent or metallic colours, making them conspicuous in flight.
Fossils of very large dragonfly ancestors have been found from 325 million years ago (Mya) in Upper Carboniferous rocks; these had wingspans up to about 75cm.
Dragonflies are represented in human culture on artifacts such as pottery, rock paintings, and Art Nouveau jewellery. They are used in traditional medicine in Japan and China, and caught for food in Indonesia. They are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness in Japan, but seen as sinister in European folklore.