Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Jurassic pain: Giant 'flea-like' insects plagued dinosaurs 165 million years ago

May 03, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - It takes a gutsy insect to sneak up on a huge dinosaur while it sleeps, crawl onto its soft underbelly and give it a bite that might have felt like a needle going in - but giant "flea-like" animals, possibly the oldest of their type ever discovered, probably did just that.

And a few actually lived through the experience, based on the discovery by Chinese scientists of remarkable fossils of these creatures, just announced in Current Biology, a professional journal.

These flea-like animals, similar but not identical to modern fleas, were probably 10 times the size of a flea you might find crawling on the family dog - with an extra-painful bite to match.

"These were insects much larger than modern fleas and from the size of their proboscis we can tell they would have been mean," said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus of zoology at Oregon State University, who wrote a commentary on this find in the same journal.

"You wouldn't talk much about the good old days if you got bit by this insect," Poinar said. "It would have felt about like a hypodermic needle going in - a flea shot, if not a flu shot. We can be thankful our modern fleas are not nearly this big."

Poinar, who is an international expert in ancient and extinct insect life forms, said it's possible that the soft-bodied, flea-like insects found in these fossils from Inner Mongolia are the evolutionary ancestors of modern fleas, but most likely they belong to a separate and now extinct lineage.

Called Pseudopulex jurassicus and Pseudopulex magnus, they had bodies that were more flat, like a bedbug or tick, and long claws that could reach over scales on the skin of dinosaurs so they could hold onto them tightly while sucking blood. Modern fleas are more laterally compressed and have shorter antennae, and are able to move quickly through the fur or feathers of their victims.

"These are really well-preserved fossils that give us another glimpse of life into the really distant past, the Cretaceous and Jurassic," said Poinar, who has also studied "younger" fleas from 40-50 million years ago preserved in amber.

All true fleas are adapted to feeding on warm-blooded vertebrates, Poinar said, and today 94 percent of the 2,300 known species attack mammals, while the remainder feed on birds. But the unusual characteristics and abilities of the flea-like animals found in these fossils lead scientists to believe their prey were some of the biggest kids on the block - dinosaurs in which they could have fed on the softer skin between scales.

Modern fleas, the report noted, have done plenty of damage. Hardly a dog or cat alive has escaped their attack, and they brought mankind such diseases as bubonic plague, which has killed 75 million people.

But their bite itself, at least, didn't feel like a needle going in, by an insect that wasn't even afraid of a dinosaur.

Oregon State University


Related Fleas Current Events and Fleas News Articles


Road salt guidelines need review to protect food chain in lakes: York U study
Salt used for winter road maintenance in Canada could wipe out water flea populations that keep our lakes clear of algae and feed the fish, a recent York University study has revealed.

Diversity prevents resistance
Our opponents always seem to be one step ahead. Although pest controllers now have numerous chemical preparations available, allowing them to take action against unwanted insects, the species targeted are developing a resistance against the different active substances at a rapid pace.

Baby mantises harness mid-air 'spin' during jumps for precision landings
The smaller you are, the harder it is not to spin out of control when you jump. Miniscule errors in propulsive force relative to the centre of mass results in most jumping insects - such as fleas, leafhoppers and grasshoppers - spinning uncontrollably when they jump.

Climate-warmed leaves change lake ecosystems, Dartmouth-led study finds
Rising soil temperatures significantly affect autumn leaves and consequently the food web, appearance and biochemical makeup of the lakes and ponds those leaves fall into, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.

Calcium loss turning lakes to 'jelly'
New research on a number of Canadian lakes show that historical acid deposits as a result of industry have greatly reduced calcium levels in the water - dramatically impacting populations of calcium-rich plankton such as Daphnia water fleas that dominate these ecosystems.

New insights on an ancient plague could improve treatments for infections
Dangerous new pathogens such as the Ebola virus invoke scary scenarios of deadly epidemics, but even ancient scourges such as the bubonic plague are still providing researchers with new insights on how the body responds to infections.

Decrease in large wildlife drives an increase in rodent-borne disease and risk to humans
Populations of large wildlife are declining around the world, while zoonotic diseases (those transmitted from animals to humans) are on the rise.

Breakthrough could lead to protection from fatal infections
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a way to block a disease pathway that could be a breakthrough in defeating some of the world's most devastating human infections.

Surprising diversity in aging revealed in nature
In our youth we are strong and healthy and then we weaken and die - that's probably how most would describe what ageing is all about.

Fossils clarify the origins of wasps and their kin: alderfly ancestors, snakefly cousins
Wasps, bees, ants and relatives comprise the megadiverse insect order Hymenoptera, the third most speciose animal group on Earth, far surpassing the number of known vertebrate species.
More Fleas Current Events and Fleas News Articles

The Flea - The Amazing Story of Leo Messi

The Flea - The Amazing Story of Leo Messi
by Michael Part (Author)


The captivating story of soccer legend Lionel Messi, from his first touch at age five in the streets of Rosario, Argentina, to his first goal on the Camp Nou pitch in Barcelona, Spain. The Flea tells the amazing story of a boy who was born to play the beautiful game and destined to become the world's greatest soccer player.

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures
by Lara Spencer (Author), ChiChi Ubina (Photographer), Jonathan Adler (Photographer)


Focusing on nine different rooms (including her own recently purchased Manhattan apartment), Lara Spencer shows readers that all it takes is planning, shopping know-how, and a little imagination to create beautiful and comfortable homes that reflect their personal style. She takes readers through the step-by-step process of overcoming the challenges of the room, offering helpful tips and lessons along the way. She identi­fies the design dilemma; comes up with a decorat­ing plan; makes a mood board for inspiration; compiles a shopping list; scours flea markets for furniture and accessories that fit the bill; restores, repurposes, and reinvents the pieces she finds, giving them new life; and brings all the elements together in the gorgeous, finished space. With illuminating before,...

The Flea

The Flea
by Laurie Cohen (Author), Marjorie Béal (Illustrator)


"Once there was a little flea who thought that he was too little . . ." And so begins an innocent quest. The flea wants to be bigger. He scales a pea. Then scales an apple. He climbs atop a flower, a plant, a tree, a home . . . a telephone wire, a skyscraper . . . finally, the flea finds himself on a cloud! Down below, a bear notices him. So, is the flea now big? Or just high up? The Flea uses appealingly stylized art, simple text, humorous twists, and one very determined flea to give young readers a light lesson on the importance of perspective and the malleable meaning of words. Quick paced, silly, and loaded with a funny twist ending, The Flea is indeed bigger than its humble exterior belies.


Thrift Store: BANK How to Make a Killer Living Reselling on Amazon FBA and Ebay from Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

Thrift Store: BANK How to Make a Killer Living Reselling on Amazon FBA and Ebay from Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and Flea Markets
by Alex Sharp


Learn How to Maker a Living Reselling on Amazon FBA&Ebay from Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and Flea Markets!
If you are looking for a way to supplement your income, make more money or just have some extra spare change, then this book will be perfect for you! You will learn how to set up your office, what you will need from day one, all the way to calculate shipping costs. You will go from moths flying out of your pockets to saying "Add it to my bill," in no time.
You will become knowledgeable about what to buy, when to buy it and even to where to buy it. All you need to do is read this book and get on it.

From bullet point run downs to detailed actions, you will be selling in a matter of minutes!

Scared about what to purchase to build your...

Flea Market Secrets: An Indispensable Guide to Where to Go and What to Buy

Flea Market Secrets: An Indispensable Guide to Where to Go and What to Buy
by Geraldine James (Author)


Geraldine James, is a true flea marketing expert. She begins with the 10 Golden Rules (from arriving early and knowing how to work the stalls to training your eye to spot treasures amongst the rubbish). The following chapters on china and glass, textiles, furniture, metal, art, jewellery and gardens explain what to buy, what to ignore, how to clean and repair and when to call in the services of a restoration expert. There's advice on how to display your finds and how to build a collection. Finally, there is a detailed directory of Geraldine's favourite flea markets, from Round Top in Texas and Los Angeles' Rose Bowl, to the markets of Paris and the south of France and the country towns of England.Vintage, retro, unusual, quirky and one-of-a-kind - all these words perfectly describe the...

There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea

There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea
by Jennifer Ward (Author), Steve Gray (Illustrator)


There was a coyote who swallowed a flea, Plucked from his knee, that tickly flea. Yippee-o-Ki-Yee! Skinny ol' Coyote delights readers of all ages as he swallows his way through this delicious southwestern-flavored retelling of a well-loved rhyme. As Coyote gets bigger, the story gets zanier as a bird, a bull, and even an entire cactus end up as dinner. It's pure fun for everyone—even that little flea. Call him silly to swallow a chile! Yippee-o-Ki-Yee!

The North Pole Challenge (Flea's Five Christmases Book 1)

The North Pole Challenge (Flea's Five Christmases Book 1)


**A WINNER IN THE NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL**

Flea has always been different from other students in school. He’s not smart or athletic, he’s shorter than kids five years younger than him and his facial features are so pointy that everyone avoids him. His foster mother constantly warns him to avoid attention, though Flea has no idea who’s after them. But Flea has recently discovered several abilities that change his life forever: snowy weather follows him wherever he goes, he stops snowballs in mid-flight and he builds anything in shop class in the matter of minutes despite his lack of training. An appearance on The Great Build-Off – a popular construction game show – leads him to a magical place he thought existed only in Christmas stories.

At the North...

Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire
by William Rosen (Author)


The epic story of the collision between one of nature?s smallest organisms and history?s mightiest empire

During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born.

At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology,...

I Brake for Yard Sales: and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster

I Brake for Yard Sales: and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster
by Lara Spencer (Author), Kathy Griffin (Foreword)


Good Morning America correspondent Lara Spencer is a self-confessed frugalista with a passion for shopping at yard sales, thrift shops, and estate sales, and for decorating her home and friends’ homes with her fabulous finds. In I Brake for Yard Sales, Lara shares her secrets for bargain hunting and tells you where to shop, what to look for, how to pay for it, how to restore it, and finally, where to put it in your house. Looking for the newest arrivals at your local thrift shops? After busy Saturdays and no-pick-up Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the best days to shop for fresh items. Peppered with wisdom from world-renowned appraisers whom Lara knows from her previous work on Antiques Roadshow as well as contributions from well-known designers, this book also features...

Fleas!

Fleas!
by Jeanne Steig (Author), Britt Spencer (Illustrator)


From the whimsical world of Steig! When Quantz stops to pet a big red dog, what does he get for his efforts? FLEAS! And those fleas are itchy! So he trades them for a talking uncle, but that uncle just talks too much, so Quantz is happy to give him up for a huge wheel of limburger cheese. But that cheese is too heavy, so he trades it for a beat up banjo . . . then an auburn wig . . . a tiny pet rabbit . . . a dried up bone . . . and finally a big red dog—who becomes a fast friend. This wonderfully Steigish tall tale concludes with a flea circus you’ll never forget! With whimsical, retro illustrations and a hilarious text, Fleasis a book children will be itching to hear again and again!

© 2015 BrightSurf.com