A 100-Million-Year-Old Fossil Uncovered A Key Fact About Bedbugs

Researchers traveled to hot, dark, bat-poo-filled caves and war-torn countries to collect bedbug samples from over 30 different species, according to Science. Their effort to fill in the holes in the creature’s family tree took 15 years and revealed several surprises, among them the answer to the question: Which came first, the bat or the bedbug?

Scientists once thought bats predated the bedbug, with the former first coming on the scene around 50 to 60 million years ago (via Phys.org). Bats were also believed to be the first creatures bedbugs dined on. But the research in Current Biology reveals bedbugs date back 115 million years, meaning they were actually here on earth long before the bat (per Science). So what were bedbugs eating before they feasted on the blood of bats? According to Phys.org, scientists don’t have the answers to that yet, but they don’t believe bedbugs were dining on dinosaurs. That’s because bedbugs live off creatures that have a nest, a burrow, or a bed where they live or sleep, and nothing like that has been associated with dinosaurs.