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Published on Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Pre-Historic Ticks


A short clip shared by National Geographic shows a discovery of a tick clinging onto the feathers of a dinosaur. Ticks have been feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and reptiles for millions of years and now scientist have found ticks that once fed on the blood of dinosaurs. Encased in a Cretaceous Era amber, the tick was found with a feather to what seems belongs to either a feathered dinosaur or a primitive bird known as Enantiornithine which went extinct about 66 million years ago. The feather dated back to 99 million years which eliminate modern birds which only appeared in the past 25 million years.

Although we all dream of Jurassic World we can create using DNA from the ticks, extracting viable DNA from the ticks is almost impossible. The conditions in the amber such as extreme dehydration and fluctuating temperatures destroys the fragile DNA molecules. Instead, the significance of this discovery is the evidence it provides regarding the ecological relationship between animals in the past and parasites like ticks and lice. In addition, the tick also had microscopic hair from carpet beetles, which are used in modern birds nest, showing that the tick had visited the feathered host nest before getting trapped in the amber.  Thanks to the amber, scientist were provided with a piece of the historic environment whilst keeping most details intact.

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Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Research, Animals & Wildlife, Videos, Research, Animals & Wildlife



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