. Space Travel News .




.
EARLY EARTH
A battle of the vampires, 20 million years ago?
by Staff Writers
Corvallis OR (SPX) Feb 09, 2012

This is the only known fossil of a bat fly, a specimen at least 20 million years old that carried malaria and fed on the blood of bats. (Photo by George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University).

They are tiny, ugly, disease-carrying little blood-suckers that most people have never seen or heard of, but a new discovery in a one-of-a-kind fossil shows that "bat flies" have been doing their noxious business with bats for at least 20 million years.

For bats, that's a long time to deal with a parasite doing its best vampire impression. Maybe it is nature's revenge on the vampire bat, an aggressive blood consumer in its own right that will feed on anything from sheep to dogs and humans.

The find was made by researchers from Oregon State University in amber from the Dominican Republic that was formed 20-30 million years ago. The bat fly was entombed and perfectly preserved for all that time in what was then oozing tree sap and later became a semi-precious stone.

This is the only fossil ever found of a bat fly, and scientists say it's an extraordinary discovery. It was also carrying malaria, further evidence of the long time that malaria has been prevalent in the New World. The genus of bat fly discovered in this research is now extinct.

The findings have been published in two professional journals, Systematic Parasitology and Parasites and Vectors.

"Bat flies are a remarkable case of specific evolution, animals that have co-evolved with bats and are found nowhere else," said George Poinar, Jr., an OSU professor of zoology and one of the world's leading experts on the study of ancient ecosystems through plants and animals preserved in amber.

"Bats are mammals that go back about 50 million years, the only true flying mammal, and the earliest species had claws and climbed trees," Poinar said.

"We now know that bat flies have been parasitizing them for at least half that time, and they are found exclusively in their fur. They are somewhat flat-sided like a flea, allowing them to move more easily through bat fur."

Not every bat is infested with bat flies, and some of the contemporary flies are specific to certain species of bats. But they are still pretty common and found around the world.

Bat flies only leave their bat in order to mate, Poinar said, and that's probably what this specimen was doing when it got stuck in some sticky, oozing sap.

Related Links
Oregon State University
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com




.
.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
...
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries



And it's 3... 2... 1... blastoff! Discover the thrill of a real-life rocket launch.



.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle



EARLY EARTH
Global Extinction: Gradual Doom Is Just As Bad As Abrupt
Cincinnati OH (SPX) Feb 08, 2012
A painstakingly detailed investigation shows that mass extinctions need not be sudden events. The deadliest mass extinction of all took a long time to kill 90 percent of Earth's marine life, and it killed in stages, according to a newly published report. Thomas J. Algeo, professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati, worked with 13 co-authors to produce a high-resolution look at the ... read more


EARLY EARTH
April new date for SpaceX capsule launch

SpaceX to Launch AsiaSat 6 and AsiaSat 8 in 2014

Mobile Launcher Tests Confirm Designs

Iran to launch new generation of satellites

EARLY EARTH
Spectra Systems Products on Their Way to Mars

Mars Science Lab Computer Issue Resolved

NASA budget will axe Mars deal with Europe: scientists

Mars radar finds possible ocean sediments

EARLY EARTH
China publishes high-resolution full moon map

EARLY EARTH
EARLY EARTH
EARLY EARTH
Europe stakes billion-dollar bet on new rocket

Birthday Cake for X-37B

EARLY EARTH
Space-tracking ship Yuanwang VI concludes trip

China's new rockets expected to debut within five years

China announces new launch rockets

EARLY EARTH
Mission to Land on a Comet

Project NEOShield: Asteroid defence systems

Asteroids: The New 'It Mission' for Space Exploration


Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

.

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement