According to NewScientist, five fossilized butterflies found in the Dominican Republic suggest that butterflies may have evolved as many as 65 million years ago. These fossils suggest that butterflies evolved in the tropics near the equator.
NewScientist reports that the fossils from the Dominican Republic are an extinct sister species of butterflies that live in Mexico and in rain forests of the Amazon. Scientists have found further evidence in the fossil record that indicates butterflies may have lived with the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period -- a time of warm, humid climates and inland seas. Other butterflies fossilized in rock date back 40 to 50 million years ago.