Ancient Blood-filled Mosquito Won’t Grow Any Dinosaurs

A blood-engorged insect fossil has been discovered, but unlike the movie Jurassic Park, it isn't going to yield any dino DNA

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Smithsonian Institution / AP Photo

This image provided by the Smithsonian Institution shows a fossilized female mosquito in a paper-thin piece of shale.

Researcher Dale Greenwalt at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., has discovered that a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito in the Smithsonian’s collection is engorged with blood. The fossil is the first of its kind. However, there’s no chance that dinosaur DNA can be extracted from it, as it is in a certain Michael Critchton novel and Steven Spielberg movie. For one thing, this particular mosquito enjoyed its last meal several million years after the last dinosaurs trampled the earth. Secondly, DNA doesn’t survive this long. Still, the discovery and the successful detection of iron in the insect’s abdomen have been hailed as an impressive feat.