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Evidence of Vector Borne diseases in Dinosaurs

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posted on May, 3 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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citation:
Poinar, G., Jr and Poinar, R. (2004). Evidence of vector-borne disease of Early Cretaceous reptiles. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 4: 281-284


Abstract
A blood-filled sand fly, Palaeomyia burmitis, was recently described from Early Cretaceous Burmese amber. Within the alimentary canal of this sand fly were the amastigotes and promastigotes of a digenetic leishmanial trypanosomatid. Inside the lumen of the thoracic midgut of the fossil sand fly were nucleated blood cells, some of which were intact and others in various stages of lysis and disintegration. The present study identifies these blood cells as reptilian and describes putative developing amastigotes inside spherical to oval whitish vacuoles within some of the fossil blood cells. The significance of this find is discussed, especially regarding the high possibility that Cretaceous dinosaurs were infected by typanosomatids.


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A sandfly

Intruiging study, I'd like to see the whole paper. Its pretty impressive what 'new' technologies are allowing people to do. Parasitology can be a very informative subject area, and certianly finding out that dinosaurs might've been a vector in this set-up is impressive and might lead to other inferences about the ecology of dinoaurs.

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A promastigote

Leishamiasis is a disease of the skin, its caused by the organism (one of many variable stages of which is) shown above.
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Here is a page about trypanosomes and other parasites. The trypanosome is borne by the sand fly, pictured above. It requires multiple hosts and enviroments to develop and complete its life cycle, such as the gut of a sandfly and the blood of a dinosaur.

Sorry, no dinosaur dna.




posted on May, 3 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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It's a shame I can't give you applause for that neat find... you'll have to settle for an :up

I'm surprised I haven't seen it discussed on Pharyngula yet.

It really shouldn't surprise anyone that there are evidences of disease in prehistoric (fossilized) populations, but it's nice to see confirmation of it. Flies are among the oldest lifeforms around... and may yet survive us.



 
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