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Feathered dinosaurs have been eaten away by insects, such as bugs, says study

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Paleontologists have found out that the feathered dinosaurs were being eaten alive by the insects as the insects, according to a new study.

The researchers looked at pieces of amber, approx 99 million years ago, and it was found that the springs were covered with lice, as the insects, who belonged to a newly discovered species, known as the Mesophthirus engeli. Of the 1,000 copies that have been investigated, 10 of them have had bugs, and in one case, a spring, showed signs of eating.

“This is a new bug, clade a shows a series of ectoparasitic morphological features, such as a small, wingless body, the head, and with strong chewing mouthparts, sturdy, and the short antennae have long setae, legs with one tarsal claw is associated with two additional long setae, etc., etc.” the researchers wrote in the study abstract.

Credit: Taiping Gao/Nature Communications)

STUNNING DINOSAUR SKULL, DISCOVERING CHANGES PALEONTOLOGISTS’ ASSUMPTIONS UPSIDE-DOWN

“The most important thing is that these insects have been well-preserved, partly damaged, dinosaur feathers, and the harm that is likely to have been made by these insects’ integument, breast-feeding behavior,” she adds. “This report shows that the spring feeding behavior of the insect is caused, at least in the mid-Cretaceous, with the guidance of the radiation of feathered dinosaurs, including the early bird.”

One of the study’s co-authors, Chungkun Shih, a visiting professor at Capital Normal University in China, told The Guardian “[t]he earliest recorded, or in a formal document, [instance] head lice or louse-like insects, feeding on the feathers.”

The specimens of M. engeli were the nymphs, and would have probably reached about 0.5 millimeter in length as an adult, the researchers found.

Credit: Taiping Gao/Nature Communications)

Shih said the small size of the insect that surprised him.

“Based on our study of the fossil, when we were thinking that if we were in need of water, and the size can be larger than the current one, water, but [they] turned out to be very small,” he told The Guardian. “That might explain why it was on the compression fossils of the [positive], we can’t find any water.”

The springs are likely to be two types of game, including a pennaraptoran, The Guardian reported.

THE WORLD’S OLDEST MEAT-EATING DINOSAUR FOUND

The study has been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

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