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Parasites that plagued ancient gators.

Parasites that plagued ancient gators

After two years spend delving into the excrement of prehistoric alligators, Karl J. Reinhard has found something that may herald a new movement in paleontology. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher has identified the first North American evidence of parasitic eggs in fossil aninal dung.

While examining 10,000-year-old feces from south Florida, Reinhard found parasite eggs in 12 of 28 specimens. The eggs represent five or six species of parasites, including a type of nematode and several species of flukes.

South American researchers have made many advances in paleoparasitology, but so far the specialty has been slow to catch on in North America, notes Reinhard. Intensified investigation in this field, he says, could help researchers trace the evolution of parasites and their distribution around the world.
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Title Annotation:fossil alligators
Author:Monastersky, Richard
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 27, 1990
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