Will 46-million-year-old mosquito lead to real-life Jurassic Park?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

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The blood-filled mosquito fossil was found in northwestern Montana before making its way to the museum.

In the movie Jurassic Park, scientists took dinosaur blood from ancient mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree liquid), and brought the beasts to life. While this might seem like pure science-fiction, there’s already been talk of bringing mammoths back into the world using their DNA. However, there’s never been a blood-filled mosquito fossil found before… until researcher Dale Greenwalt discovered one at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington!

The 46-million-year-old mosquito, which was given to the museum as a gift before Greenwalt recognized its incredible rarity, offers hope that blood can be preserved for a very long time. Also, according to a paleo-entomologist (bug evolution expert) named George Poinar, he believes the discovery shows that “blood-filled mosquitoes were already feeding at that time, suggesting that they were around much earlier and could have fed on dinosaurs.” Whoa!

Now, before we get all excited (or terrified) about a Tyrannosaurus Rex running around the streets, the researchers don’t know what kind of animal the blood came from. Still, it’s incredible that the insect lasted so long in there, especially since it was found inside rock. Greenwalt says, “The chances that such an insect would be preserved in shale [are] almost infinitesimally small.”

Well, I for one look forward to the day when I can watch a cow get lowered into the Velociraptor cage at the local dinosaur zoo! Hopefully, there’s no greedy scientist running around shutting off the power, or I’ll be watching my glass of water… hoping it doesn’t start rippling to the thump of T-Rex footsteps.

Featured image courtesy of Universal Pictures. Image of fossilized mosquito courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.