Are you excited about the prospect of bringing back extinct animals? Particularly, those existed say, some 30 million years ago? Yes. It sure sounds like a plot from 90s blockbuster, Jurassic Park and it is kind of is because the researcher who found the 30-million-year-old tick encased in amber was Oregon State University’s professor emeritus, George Poinar, Jr., who was also the same person who inspired the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton back in the 80 (which later became a major blockbuster)s. Poinar speculates the tick, which was found at the Cordillera Septentrional mountain range in the Dominican Republic, contains full blood of an ancient monkey and if that’s the case, it would be the oldest fossilized mammalian blood cells ever found.
Apparently, the 2.5mm small, blood-filled tick belongs to the genus of Amblyomma and it was found inside the amber with two puncture wounds (a result likely from being involuntarily plucked out of its host) that allows the some blood to spill out into the amber. So, what’s the use of this suspect monkey blood from the Cenozoic Era? I don’t know. Maybe a real-life Jurassic Park? Ok, maybe not. Because the professor indicated that he is not about to risk destroying the hard-to-come-by specimen, but he did mention that the life forms found in the amber can educates us on “the history and evolution of diseases we still struggle with today.”
Like for instance, there is evidence of a modern day blood parasite called Babesia microti, a cause for tick-born diseases, was found in the blood which is a clear indication that the parasite’s resilience. So, knowing that how this parasite have survived, may lead to discovery on how to deal with this still striving disease. So, yeah. No luck for Jurassic Park or Jurassic Primate Park for us anytime soon, and it is probably a good thing cos’ mankind probably can’t deal with Jurassic Primate rights group, or worst, deal with Jurassic Primate going on a rampage.
Image: George Poinar, Jr.