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Melissa Snell

Medieval bugs left informative marks

By November 21, 2012

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In surviving books printed with wood blocks in the late Middle Ages and beyond, scholars have observed white dots that represent places on the printing block where beetles have chewed through the wood. This kind of "literary record" is known as a trace fossil, and scientists use it to determine when and where beetles of various species flourished in medieval Europe. I've always known medieval books could tell us a lot, but this is a different can of worms -- er, kettle of fish -- oh, never mind.

Find out more in the article at NBC News, and check out the image gallery at LiveScience to see samples of wood-block prints, beetle-damaged wood blocks, and the cute little culprits themselves (well, they're cute for those of you who take "cute as a bug" literally).

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