Mary Schweitzer’s discovery of soft tissue in a T. rex bone made quite a stir in the scientific community. Now scientists have discovered a fossilized mosquito with traces of blood still in it’s abdomen. Interestingly enough the mosquito was found in Montana, the same state that the T. rex bones where found.
The following reblogged from http://www.nature.com/news/blood-filled-mosquito-is-a-fossil-first-1.13946
Jurassic Park’s iconic image of a fossilized blood-filled mosquito was thought to be fiction — until now. For the first time, researchers have identified a fossil of a female mosquito with traces of blood in its engorged abdomen. A team led by Dale Greenwalt at the US National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC reports the fossil discovery today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Although scientists have found fossils of suspected blood-sucking insects, the creatures’ feeding habits have mostly been inferred from their anatomy or the presence of blood-borne parasites in their guts. But Greenwalt’s fossilized mosquito contains molecules that provide strong evidence of blood-feeding among ancient insects back to 46 million years ago. It is a fortunate find. “The abdomen of a blood-engorged mosquito is like a balloon ready to burst. It is very fragile,” says Greenwalt. “The chances that it wouldn’t have disintegrated prior to fossilization were infinitesimally small.”
The insect was found not in amber, as depicted in Jurassic Park, but in shale sediments from Montana. After 46 million years, any DNA would be long degraded, but other molecules can survive. Greenwalt’s team showed that the insect’s abdomen still contains large traces of iron and the organic molecule porphyrin — both constituents of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment found in vertebrate blood. These molecules were either rare or absent in the abdomen of a fossilized male mosquito (which does not drink blood) of the same age, found at the same location.
Read the full article at http://www.nature.com/news/blood-filled-mosquito-is-a-fossil-first-1.13946
I cannot help but think of Barry Setterfield’s research on the decay of the speed of light and it’s subsequent effect on any dating method with relies on atomic processees when I’m told these blood cells are believed to be 46 million years old.