Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013

#1. First Fossil of Blood-Filled Mosquito Discovered

The comparisons were inevitable.

Fossil mosquito
This fossil mosquito, found in oil shale in northwestern Montana, is the first to be discovered with the remains of a blood meal still in its abdomen (PNAS/Greenwalt et al.)

When scientists announced in October that they’d discovered the first fossil of a mosquito found still engorged with blood, many readers began connecting the imaginary dots between this real-life find and the amber-trapped mosquito of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.

Though the comparison turned out to be somewhat less than apt (find out why), the discovery was nonetheless a breakthrough of its own — proving it’s possible to isolate the components of blood, even if they’re millions of years old, and providing rare insights into the evolution of blood-eating in the animal kingdom.

Find out what the scientists discovered in the fossil, and how.

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