back to article Dinosaurs were DRAINED of blood by GIGANTIC HORROR FLEAS

As if impending extinction wasn't enough, dinosaurs were also plagued by giant mega-fleas that impaled their soft underbellies and feasted on their blood. Illustration of prehistoric flea Nom, nom, nom, nom... The super-fleas, which were around ten times the size of the fleas that bother dogs nowadays had an extra-painful …

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  1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    Why am I itching?

  2. Smallbrainfield
    Thumb Up

    I for one welcome our prehistoric blood-sucking overlords, etc...

    There's a really unpleasant bit in Will Ferrell vehicle Land of the Lost where he gets drained by a massive blood sucking insect. Am I the only person who finds Ferrell not as funny as everyone says he is?

    Anna Friel in shorts though, cor.

    1. Smallbrainfield

      Re: I for one welcome our prehistoric blood-sucking overlords, etc...

      Actually, just thinking about it, ten times bigger? Modern fleas are only a few millimetres long, so they'd not be that massive would they? Maybe 15 - 30mm long?

      /squirts Frontline on back of neck, just to be sure.

      1. bpfh Bronze badge
        Mushroom

        Nuke them from orbit...

        That would still be a blood-sucking-malaria-infesting-aids-transmitting-one-inch-plus-long creepy crawly.... Imagine your dog covered in asian hornet sized insects, but hungrier...

      2. Graham Dawson

        Re: I for one welcome our prehistoric blood-sucking overlords, etc...

        15 to 30mm is... 1.5 to 3cm, or approximately 1 inch. A flea one inch long? No thanks!

      3. Mussie (Ed)
        Flame

        Re: I for one welcome our prehistoric blood-sucking overlords, etc...

        not that big not but imagine 2000 of the jumpy jumpy little blood suckers comming after you cause Fido been sucked dry..

        I would be packing the can of raid with the attached zippo

        failing that as our fellow reg reader said

        Nuke em

        Its the only way to be sure

    2. bondyboy

      Re: I for one welcome our prehistoric blood-sucking overlords, etc...

      Will is quite marmite, but imo a comedy genius

      Anna Friel - do not want

  3. wibble001

    "Am I the only person who finds Ferrell not as funny as everyone says he is?" - No, you're not.

    But back to the article; is it just me or does that thing look like a 6-legged sparrow with antennae?

    1. Smallbrainfield

      It looks like a ferret

      in insect fancy dress.

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        Re: It looks like a ferret

        @Smallbrainfield

        Who, Will Ferrell?!

  4. NomNomNom

    Is that an artists impression or a photo? I can't tell

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Thomas 4

    Wow

    These things sucked blood like a Street View car sucks Wifi.

    1. Mussie (Ed)
      Thumb Up

      Re: Wow

      LOL Google Burn hehehe

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I can just hear a couple of surviving dinosaurs having a conversation

    <Yorkshire accent>

    "When I was a lad, we proper fleas, not these miniature little things that cannot bit through a piece of paper if they wanted to!"

    "Right you are! I remember fleas that could bite right through a Triceratops's scales, he could"

    "That's nothing, I saw some fleas that could drill straight through an Ankylosaur's club, no less"

    "Rubbish, we had fleas which could drill for oil, they could, bite so strong it would go a mile through solid rock, it could!"

    "And the problem with kids these days is that when you tell them they don't believe a word you say!"

    </Yorkshire accent>

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      "I can just hear a couple of surviving dinosaurs...."

      Thanks for the tip. You can pick up your Nobel Prize on the way out.

    2. Chemist

      Brave man

      Equating Yorkshire accents and dinosaurs !

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brave man

        Eee but they ad it good in them days did yorkshire. Dinosaurs was real predators, not like them pansy souther soft lions and tigers. And what are they doin here anyway, bluddy immigrant predators takin predatin from real hard workin sorts what want it but can't get it. Soft as muck they are, and they always tek what's rightfully ours right under oru noses, bold as brass an hard as nails! Just cos tha's got a dicky leg an thirty million years on the clock doesn't mean thee 'as to sit back while some brazen nicks tha prey!

        Eeeeeee...

        Oh wait, that's east lancs. Never moind.

  7. Crisp Silver badge

    That looks like a picture of a lawyer.

    Or a politician. I can't quite tell from this angle.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: That looks like a picture of a lawyer.

      Nope. Its an MP

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: That looks like a picture of a lawyer.

        no it's a flea. it's an illustration of the article about dinosaur fleas.

      2. Lazy Gun

        Re: That looks like a picture of a lawyer.

        Tom Watson?

      3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: That looks like a picture of a lawyer..or a politician

        "Nope. Its an MP"

        Who are usually ex-lawyers and...um....(how do I put this without coming across all sarky?) politicians.

  8. King Jack
    Joke

    They still exist today

    They are called 'wives.'

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: They still exist today

      your wife bites you and can jump long distances?

      1. Graham Dawson
        Coat

        Re: They still exist today

        It's shocking what goes on in the bedrooms of this once great nation...

        *flicks open his copy of the daily mail and tuts at the house prices*

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Ah! that explains why all the office started scratching earlier...

    NT.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the irony...

    ...that the journal that publishes papers on extinct, prehistoric fleas is named "Current Biology"

  11. Kleykenb

    grain of salt

    I've always been told that insects can not be 'very large' because of the fact thaty they don't have longues but a completely different 'breathing system' that requires them to remain small.

    So they can't have been 'football' size, but they can be 'ping-pong' ball sized.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      * LUNGS

      Lounges?

      Lozenges?

      1. Arctic fox
        Happy

        Re: * LUNGS "Lounges? Lozenges?"

        (chaise)longues? Fleas that infest furniture?

    2. Schultz

      Re: grain of salt

      There used to be more oxygen around.

      It took some time for the parasites (that's us, the non-photosynthetic organisms) to suck the excess oxygen from the atmosphere. Looks like there was a window of opportunity for extra-large parasites.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: grain of salt

      And your point, Kleykenb? There are plenty of modern insects larger than this, there's a 3cm hornet that regularly visits my lounge, for instance. I wouldn't like to get attacked by either... I'll leave the hornet be until the gecko gets it, and the flea, well, 65 million years in the bedrock should do it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I doubt it would have been that painful. Any pain would result in the parasite being brushed off, whereas it would have preferred to remain undetected.

    You just need a big proboscis to get through thick hide.

    1. Michael Thibault
      IT Angle

      Possible explanation for ...

      why dinosaurs developed feather(-duster)s.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      re: You just need a big proboscis to get through thick hide.

      Indeed.

      Something we should all remember.

  13. I'm Brian and so's my wife
    Mushroom

    I'm glad...

    ... that the caption under the photo wasn't "actual size" <shudder>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm glad...

      I'm glad I wasn't reading this on my projector.

  14. steve harris
    Headmaster

    Big flea

    The paper says 22.8mm for Pseudopulex magnus. VS ~2mm for a modern flea

    That's close to an inch in old money

  15. John A Blackley

    You can find these still

    on any part of the west coast of Scotland on a summer evening.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been done

    I vaguely remember a brilliant SF short story from the 1960s (I think) called something like "Poor Little Hunter". A brilliant scientist invents a time machine and (as one would) jumps back to the Cretaceous to shoot a brontosaur (as they called them in the 1960s). He drops a big specimen - about 60 tons - with his first shot, and is just going for a closer look when he sees some creatures racing towards him from the dead dino's direction. Moments later he is hit by half a dozen dog-sized parasites, which chew him up in seconds leaving little but a few bones.

    Moral: (1) respect the ecosystem - especially if it's in your own distant past - and (2) it's not always the big animal that is the real threat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been done

      Close -- I recall the story but not the author. Tourist time-travel was common and Claude, whose wife was named Maude, decided to bag a big dinosaur. (He was not the inventor of time travel.) After shooting the creature and watching its head slowly sink into the muck, he is disappointed in the anti-climax and turns to leave but is knocked down by something landing on his back (followed by a few others).

      Nevertheless, good morals.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wrong career path

    ref. "...a flea shot, if not a flu shot".

    should have become a tabloid "reporter". Or a press "officer"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pedantic but hey it's the register

    why does the picture show hair? Dinosaurs were hairless.

    Now where did I put my coat...

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: pedantic but hey it's the register

      Looks more like some sort of protofeathers to me.

  19. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Not wishing to pour scorn on this but if I got speared by a flea it'd be like being bitten by ... err ... a flea. Now, if I was the size of a tyranno-whatsit and I was bitten by something much bigger than a flea it'd surely be, relatively speaking, like being bitten by a large flea?

  20. AnonymousNow
    Stop

    These super-sucker fleas remind me of Goldman Sachs.

  21. Tim

    About time

    Let's look for some of these preserved in amber.

  22. keeperthe

    so that's where my ex-wife evolved from.

  23. Eduard Coli
    Childcatcher

    Fleas or bankers?

    These could be the ancestors to mankind's greatest blood suckers, investment bankers.

  24. Nigel 11
    FAIL

    A puny insect

    Gentlemen, I see your one-inch extinct flea and raise you a living Amazon Giant Leech

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/amazon-leech.html (If you are squeamish, do not follow this link).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't they called 'politicians" now?

  26. Martin Budden
    FAIL

    Did the artist bother reading the desription before drawing it?

    Description: flat-bodied, long claws holding onto scales.

    Picture: plump-bodied, short claws holding onto skin with feathers.

    Or maybe El Reg has (mistakenly) chosen a stock image of a modern flea to illustrate the article?

    Either way, someone has stuffed up the picture.

  27. ckaspereli

    Bankers trace ancestors back to dinosaurs,,,

    Evidently bankers killed off the dinosaurs too,,,now they're feeding on us.

  28. Grey Ham

    "Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,

    And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum."

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huge Craters now thought to be Flea Jumping-Off Points

    Might be a future headline

  30. Dennis Wilson

    Noooo...................

    My god, the mother in law is a flea.

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