Paleontologists used to think that dinosaurs had fleas and other parasites, but now a new study concludes that the insects were actually aquatic or amphibious flies.
The study, published in the journal Nature, focuses on enigmatic Jurassic insects called strashilids. The same team that originally speculated about the fleas has revised its original theory.
Diying Huang of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and colleagues first thought that strashilids were huge fleas. You might have seen eye-catching headlines mentioning how the "fleas" were an inch long.
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Closer investigation of the Jurassic insects finds that they weren't parasites. Previously, their pincer-like legs were thought to help the insects cling to hosts. Huang and the other researchers, however, propose that they were used for grasping mates during copulation. This theory gets a boost from fossils showing the insects having sex.
Here's a pic of one such couple, fossilized in the act: