Insects ate dinosaurs’ feathers

This 29 October 2018 video says about itself:

From ancient antagonistic arachnids … to the feathered tails of dinosaurs … Here are 13 of the most ancient animals preserved in amber

#13 Ant vs Wasp … Forever

Some amber unearthed in Myanmar in 2012 revealed an epic struggle frozen in time for upwards of 100 million years (possibly more). A spider was in the midst of attacking a wasp that had become tangled in its web … the only such fossil found thus far to depict such an arachnid attack. It would have been the wasp’s worst nightmare to see the spider approaching it … and since the tree resin covered and captured them both, the nightmare never ended.

#12 Immortal Combat

Two insects found in an exquisite piece of amber kind of serve to epitomize the idea of ant warfare. Two species of ants were revealed to have been locked in combat for over 100 million years. According to researchers, the minute critters were so focused on waging war on one another that they just didn’t notice when tree resin was covering them … which of course fossilized over time. Since the critters’ jaws were still locked together, it’s possible that the two ants were fighting over a food source … or caught up in the midst of a nest being raided. Researchers say that the specimen located in Myanmar might provide the clearest evidence to date regarding insects displaying advanced social behaviors … although in this case, maybe it would be ‘antisocial behaviors’.

By Sofie Bates, December 10, 2019, at 11:00 am:

Licelike insects munched on dinosaur feathers around 100 million years ago

Fossils in amber push the origin of feather-feeding insects back over 50 million years

Feathered dinosaurs, including early birds, may have dealt with pests similar to lice around 100 million years ago.

A newfound ancient insect species, dubbed Mesophthirus engeli, was found preserved with dinosaur feathers in two pieces of Myanmar amber dating to the mid-Cretaceous Period (SN: 7/24/14).

The fossils are the earliest evidence found of insects feeding on feathers, researchers report December 10 in Nature Communications. The previous record-holder was a fossilized louse from roughly 44 million years ago, says Taiping Gao, a paleoentomologist from Capital Normal University in Beijing.

M. engeli looks somewhat like modern lice, with teeth and a thick, wingless body. The insects also have anatomical traits seen in other ectoparasites — those that live outside of their host’s body. In one piece of amber that Gao and colleagues analyzed under a microscope, the team found nine insects on or near a feather. That feather had damage holes toward its end, but not near its base — a pattern that also occurs when lice chomp on modern birds’ feathers.

Modern birds replace old or damaged feathers through molting, says Luis Chiappe, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County who specializes in birds. The new findings show that parasite–host relationships that could’ve damaged feathers began at least 100 million years ago, he says, and could be one reason why birds evolved to molt.

2 thoughts on “Insects ate dinosaurs’ feathers

  1. Pingback: New feathered dinosaur discovery in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Colourful dinosaur age insects discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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