Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Rare Blood-Engorged Mosquito Fossil Found

About 46 million years ago, a mosquito sunk its proboscis into some animal, perhaps a bird or a mammal, and filled up on a meal of blood. Then its luck turned for the worse, as it fell into a lake and sunk to the bottom.

Normally this wouldn't be newsworthy, and nobody would likely know or care about a long-dead insect in what is now northwest Montana. But somehow, the mosquito didn't immediately decompose — a fortuitous turn of events for modern-day scientists — and became fossilized over the course of many years, said Dale Greenwalt, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Greenwalt discovered the mosquito fossil after it was given to the museum as a gift, and he immediately realized the specimen's rarity.

It is, in fact, the only blood-engorged mosquito fossil found, Greenwalt told LiveScience. The fossil is even stranger because it comes from shale, a type of rock formed from sediments deposited at the bottom of bodies of water, as opposed to amber, the age-old remains of dried tree sap, in which insect remnants are generally better preserved.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

ShareThis