Did malaria or other diseases exist during the time of the
dinosaurs? How can we tell??
I suspect that most diseases we worry about today (like malaria) did not
exist 65 million years ago because they are specific to warm-blooded animals
and there weren't many of them around 65 million years ago! BUT, I really
However, I do know how you might tell: from insects petrified in amber
(ala Jurassic Park), scientists might be able to detect the malaria-causing
protozoan, if it existed at the time the bug was caught in the amber.
Prehistoric protozoa should be much easier to detect than prehistoric bacteria
Click here to return to the Biology Archives
Update: June 2012