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Giant fleas fed on dinosaurs?

Palaeontologists claim to have discovered the world's oldest fleas, dating back to 40 million years, which were big in size and might have fed on dinosaurs.

world Updated: Mar 05, 2012 23:41 IST

Palaeontologists claim to have discovered the world's oldest fleas, dating back to 40 million years, which were big in size and might have fed on dinosaurs.


Fleas are hardly preserves as fossils like other ectoparasitic insects. Therefore, the evidence suggesting the origin and early evolution of fleas has been lacking so far.

Not any more.

Now, a team, led by Professor Huang Diying from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, says it has found several giant fleas from Middle Jurassic Daohugou biota at Ningcheng Couty in Inner Mongolia and the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota at Beipiao City in China.

The palaeontologists claim the findings provide new insights into the origin and evolution of fleas and the adaption of hosts. These findings traced back the earliest occurrence of fleas at least for 40 mn years.

These Mesozoic fleas are of great body sizes, approximately 15 mm in length, and longer than 20 mm. As the extant fleas, the ancient females are larger than males. New Mesozoic fleas with piercing mouthparts suggest a resemblance to Mesozoic siphonate mecopteran, say the study.