Here’s the last thing this fossilized bug ate
Researchers have analyzed the stomach content of a fossilized bug and discovered that it’s last meal was blood from a creature that lived 46 million years ago.
In Jurrassic Park, the dinosaurs were created from DNA that was extracted from ancient bugs trapped in amber. Scientists have discovered something eerily similar to that preserved insect, though chances are we won’t be seeing dinosaurs any time soon. Stuck in a thin piece of shale lying around in someone’s basement for 20 years, researchers found the fossilized remains of an ancient mosquito, belly still full of blood from its last meal.
The insect is around 46 million years old, which unfortunately is 19 million years too late to have been alive at the time of dinosaurs. It most likely fed on a bird or mammal. After its meal, it was blown into a lake in Montana, where it remained until present day. This marks the first time a blood meal has been found preserved in a fossil, but unfortunately, dino blood or not, scientists know today that DNA can’t be preserved in a fossilized state.
Sorry my friends, still no closer to making dinosaurs…
As such, this discovery is less science-fiction and more scientific curiosity. Researchers at the Smithsonian Institute under the lead of retired biochemist Dale Greenwalt, have used two types of light refracting X-rays to determine what chemicals were present in the mosquito. A combination of high iron levels in the stomach and porphyrins, which are bound to iron in blood, convinced the team that they were indeed looking at the mosquito’s last meal.