Stick Insects, or phasmidae, occupy an evolutionary niche which holds particular interest for scientists.
The earliest known Phasmid remains were found by the prominent natural historian Rev Charles Brocherty in 1852, encased in
sedentary rock in the Olduvai Gorge region of Kenya.
Although at first believed to be parts of the upper branches of the extinct tree Dephilidae Normalis, the tiny skeleton
was recognised as a Phasmid by the sharp eyes of a young local sheep farmer, and was removed to the Royal Society for further study. It is now in the Museum of Natural History in London.
As a result of extensive tests carried out by the Brindall Road Primary School in 1958, we now know the fossil to be over 23
million years old, making it one of the earliest members of the insectae phylum ever discovered.
Sadly, the fossil record remains woefully inadequate, although specimens do emerge from time to time at paleontological digs,
slowly filling the gaps from the protophasmidae (early Stick Insects) to the many species we all know and love today.