Tick found preserved in amber probably sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs, study suggests

A tick is discovered in amber probably feasted on feathered dinosaurs, the research suggested.

(Enrique Peñalver /Nature Communications )

A tick was discovered encased in amber probably feasted on the blood of feathered dinosaurs as much as 99 million years ago, a new report.

A study, published in Nature Communications on Tuesday, helped scientists determine what character feasted on mammals evolved. Character, which were already known to be ancient critters, are often associated with the bite of mammals and man.

The scientists based their studies on the amber specimens discovered in Burma. In one of the documents, a tick was located next to a spring that belonged to a dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period, NPR reported. The Cretaceous Period began about 145 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago, according to the Enclyclopedia Brittanica.


“This study provides the most convincing evidence to date for sign feed with feathered animals in the Cretaceous,” Ryan C. McKellar, a paleontologist who was not part of the study, told The New York Times.

“Amber is fossilized resin, so it is able to capture small pieces of the ecosystem almost immediately,” Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente, the author of the study wrote. “Amber may in fact be the preservation of interactions between organisms. This is the case with the feathers and the cross grab.”

The discovery helped Perez-de la Fuente further research into the link between character and dinosaurs.

“We had indirect evidence about the relationship between the sign and the feathered dinosaurs,” Perez-de la Fuente said, adding that there is not sufficient evidence until the orange copies.

David Grimaldi, an entomologist and one of the authors of the study, said the check was a regular nymph, close in size of a deer tick nymph.


Perez-de la Fuente said more research needs to be conducted on the character and what they feasted.

In a different preparation, a different tick discovered, however, was encapsulated in the blood. Scientists were unable to study the blood, because the little creature was not completely in orange.

Perez-de la Fuente, said the orange copies were bought online, and one of the pieces was donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“We actually broke the wall between private collectors and scientists, which is very unusual, especially in paleontology,” Perez-de la Fuente said. “That in itself is a success.”

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