Back in the early days of the dinosaurs, before the advent of mammals, the world was a very different place. The megacontinent of Pangaea had yet to break up, and T. Rex was tens of millions of years away from his first appearance. But apparently mites were very much like they are today.

Scientists have discovered three insects from about 230 million years ago preserved in amber in northeastern Italy, a fly and two mites. The fly was only partially preserved and couldn’t be identified by species, but the mites have been given new species names—Triasacarus fedelei and Ampezzoa triassica. They’re 100 million years older than the oldest anthropods previously collected.

Even that long ago, the mites had all the characteristics found in members of their group, Eriophyoidea, today, according to David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History. They had a long, segmented body, “feather claws” and only four legs rather than the eight found in most mites.

In news that might come as a relief to Jurassic Park fans, the mites don’t have the blood of large animals preserved in their bodies. Eriophyoidea are plant-eaters. Scientists think they probably ate leaves from the trees whose amber they were preserved in.

The discovery was particularly unusual because trees of that era generally didn’t produce much resin. The bugs were found when researchers studied 70,000 tiny droplets of the stuff whose microorganisms identify it as dating from the Triassic period. But all the droplets were found in one location, and scientists speculate that trees there only formed so much of it because of unusual local conditions.

Aside simply being far older than other preserved specimens, the bug are particularly interesting to scientists because they come from a transitional moment in the planet’s history. The start of the Triassic period followed the Permian mass extinction event 251 million years ago. That period, called the “Great Dying,” killed off approximately 90 percent of the world’s species and set the stage for the age of dinosaurs.

Image credit: A. Schmidt, University of Göttingen