Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monster fleas sucked the blood of Jurassic dinosaurs

It seems that dinosaurs weren’t the only scary monsters of the Jurassic period as newly-discovered fossils reveal giant blood-sucking fleas afflicted the prehistoric world.

Scientists say that the 2cm-long parasites, which roamed the planet between the Middle Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous, were up to four times larger than their descendants - the fleas we see today.

A female (left) and a male (right) flea from the Middle Jurassic period. Photo credit: AFP
Nine perfectly preserved fossils were unearthed from 165-million-year-old Jurassic deposits in Daohugou, northeast China, and the 125-million-year-old Cretaceous strata at Huangbanjigou, China.

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