‘Jurassic Park’ IRL? Scientists Discover 230-Million-Year-Old Bugs Preserved in Amber
Scientists working in Italy have found the oldest samples of insects preserved in amber – a fly and two mites at the ripe old age of 230 million. Maybe if we play our cards right, we’ll get an eccentric billionaire to clone some dinosaurs and we’ll be on our way to Jurassic Park!
The “Mr. DNA” scene in ‘Jurassic Park’ sort of explains it all but a quick refresher course: insects get stuck in tree sap, which becomes fossilized just like dinosaur bones, preserving the contents inside. Using sophisticated techniques, they can extract the insect inside and bingo! Dino DNA.
According to io9, these insects found are the first ever to be discovered from the Triassic era, when dinosaurs first appeared. So when can we begin feeding giant leaves to brachiosaur or rubbing the bellies of sick triceratops?
Sadly, these mites in question did not feed on the blood of dinosaurs (or other living creatures) and were mostly vegetarians but that they were able to find preserved samples that were so old – nearly 100 million years older than the previous samples – is a good sign that future discoveries will be made.
In the meanwhile, we’ll always have the potential ‘Jurassic Park 4′ which has been in the works at Universal to tide over our dino-lust.