Flying Dinosaurs Was What Shrunk Prehistoric Mosquitoes
Jun 07, 2012 12:48
Think modern mosquitoes are annoying? Just be glad you weren't around when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
According to Live Science,
a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences might offer a clue to solving the mystery behind why
mosquitoes and other bugs eventually shrunk to their now puny size.
This photo shows a fossilized insect wing measuring about about 7.5
inches long. When compared to a similar wing taken from modern insects, the difference in size indicates that some prehistoric bugs were larger than most hawks (except more
terrifying). The reason for their massive size was due to the high levels of oxygen in the
prehistoric atmosphere, which may have helped fuel their growth.
The research shows that the shrinkage started around the same time dinosaurs
evolved wings and took to the skies, which had previously been the
domain of these huge insects. The dinosaurs would then snack on these
mega-sized bugs and compete with them for food sources. Eventually, the
bugs had to scale down in order to thrive.