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Student discovers new species at Stonerose

— A field trip to the Stonerose fossil site proved to be particularly lucky for one Paschal Sherman Indian School student.

Azure Rain Belgarde, from Colville, uncovered the fossil deposits of a previously undiscovered big-headed fly.

Simon Fraser University’s Bruce Archibald and Rolf Mathewes are part of a team of biologists that has recently discovered three new, extinct fossil species of big-headed flies.

The specimen uncovered by Belgarde was complete enough for the scientists to name the new species in honor of its finder — Metanephrocerus belgardeae.

“Big-headed flies are a group of bizarre insects whose round heads are almost entirely covered by their bulging compound eyes, which they use to hunt for mainly leafhoppers and planthoppers, renowned common garden insect pests,” Archibald said.

He said the newly discovered species were preserved in the Eocene epoch fossil beds that are 49-52 million years old — about 12-15 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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