Ancient Fleas Were 10 Times Larger Than Modern Ones

They must have really annoyed feathered dinosaurs

By on March 1st, 2012 15:42 GMT

Most people don't associate fleas with dinosaurs, and don't think that the former may have harmed the latter too much. That is until they learn that most dinosaurs were feathered, and that the fleas were monstrous, about 10 times their modern size.

Fossils of these large bugs were found in China. One female was found to be about 20 millimeters long, whereas a large male reached 15 millimeters. Those dimensions may seem small, but the fleas were actually massive. Imagine that, a 2-centimeter (0.7-inch) flea on your leg.

Like their more modern counterparts, the creatures did not have any wings. Unlike today's fleas, they also did not have the extremely specialized hind legs, to allow them to jump so high and far, Science Now reports.

To make matters worse for the poor feathered reptiles, the fleas had specialized organs for siphoning blood from between thick hides, a type of armor that mammals did not have 165 million years ago.

Comments