Science Giant Fleas

Published on February 29th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


So, how big were dinosaur fleas? Uhm … big, very big

When it comes to talking about dinosaurs the idea that they might have had fleas isn’t actually one of the first things that one thinks of, but it seems that yes they did indeed suffer from fleas.

So obviously the next question one would think to ask is – how big were these fleas consider that some dinosaurs were absolutely huge.

Well it turns out we might have a pretty good idea of how big they got thanks to some fossils found in China that date back almost 165 million years ago and they came with an extremely long proboscis with serrated edges.

The report by Diying Huang of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology and other researchers is appearing in this month’s Nature journal suggests that these ancient fleas were a big beast and as co-author Michael Engel says – he wouldn’t want to come home and find one of these on his dog.

But Engel said it’s not just the size that was impressive about the nine flea fossils. It was their fearsome beak capable of sticking into and sucking blood from the hides of certain dinosaurs, probably those that had feathers.

These flea beaks “had almost like a saw running down the side,” Engel said. “This thing was packing a weapon. They were equipped to dig into something.”

While the ancient fleas were big, they had one disadvantage compared to modern ones: Their legs weren’t too developed. Evolving over time, fleas went from crawling to jumping, Huang said.

All I can say is that I really hope that they don’t decide to see if they can clone these sucker like they want to with other prehistoric wonders. We have a hard enough of a time with the one we have now let alone having to fight off one’s that size.

via PhysOrg



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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