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Re: disease-carrying varmints biting dinos
The article is misleading on another point. It implies that it was
angiosperms (flowering plants) that prompted the spread of pollinating
insects - and therefore potential vectors for disease. In fact,
gymnosperms were undoubtedly pollinated by insects too - just
different kinds of insects (like mecopterans) to those that favored
angiosperms (like lepidopterans and coleopterans).
In the long pre-angiosperm portion of the Mesozoic, scorpionflies
(Mecoptera) were especially important in gymnosperm pollination.
Further, because it was this group that gave rise to fleas
(Siphonaptera) fairly early in the Mesozoic, it is difficult to argue
that disease-carrying insects were only a major problem at the end of
the Cretaceous. As if they were whistling Dixie for tens of millions
of years. Other sucking and biting insect groups co-existed for a
long time with dinosaurs as well (they still do.) There is just no
support whatsoever for the claim that: "But back in the Cretaceous,
these diseases were new and invasive, and vertebrates had little or no
natural or acquired immunity to them."
And as mentioned by Tom, plenty of marine/aquatic clades (both
vertebrate and invertebrate) went extinct at the K/Pg. So, what
diseases are alleged to have finished these groups off? Were there
flotillas of blood-sucking crustaceans on the prowl at the end of the
On Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 12:13 AM, Brian Hathaway <email@example.com> wrote:
> I know the theory that this article is not accepted generally -
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103090702.htm - but since
> mosquitoes were so prevalent during this time could they have carried disease
> to warm-blooded non-avian dinosaurs?