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A rare, fossilized, blood-engorged mosquito has been found, with 46 million-year-old blood still inside. The discovery makes Jurassic Park spring to mind, though there are differences.
The fossil was donated to the National Museum of Natural History, Fox News reports. The fossil is exceedingly rare as the mosquito didn't decompose before becoming fossilized.
Dale Greenwalt, a researcher at the Natural History museum said it's the only one of its kind, that's been discovered. The mosquito was found inside shale, making it rarer still, as opposed to amber - which is better at preserving. "The chances that such an insect would be preserved in shale is almost infinitesimally small."
To study the fossil in the shale, researchers used bismuth, a heavy metal, to bombard the fossil. This method vaporizes chemicals and then a mass spectrometer is to determine what the airborne chemicals are. Greenwalt says this method is better as it requires less destruction of the fossil.
According to the International Business Times, Greenwalt and researchers found porphyrins from the fossil, which is in hemoglobin.
Unfortunately, while it's possible to tell the mosquito feasted upon blood before its demise, what it feasted on will remain unknown. DNA doesn't last very long and not past 6.8 million years. Researchers could say the fossil was from the Eocene epoch, which last 56 million to 33.9 million years ago.
image: Wikimedia Commons