DiscoveriesFebruary 24, 2022
The Long Sore Throat
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Scientists have long known that dinosaurs could get arthritis, parasites and other ailments.
Now, paleontologists discovered these extinct giant lizards also caught colds, and sniffled, Cosmos Magazine reported.
An international research team studied the fossilized remains of a young diplodocid – a large, long-necked herbivorous sauropod – that lived in what is now Montana in the western United States about 150 million years ago.
The team wrote that the creature – known as MOR 7029 – had some abnormal bony protrusions in an area of their neck, which was connected to its large respiratory system. Upon close inspection, they determined that these lumps were formed in response to a fungal infection in the dino’s air sacs, which later spread into its neck bones.
Researchers said the sickness resembled aspergillosis, a common respiratory illness that affects modern birds and reptiles, which can lead to bone infections – and can be fatal if untreated.
It’s possible MOR 7029 experienced pneumonia-like symptoms, such as a cough, fever and breathing difficulties. Scientists added that the infection could have also led to the diplodocid’s demise.
Despite its death, the recent paper shows that the study of dinosaur bones can act as a logbook of their lives, including how they grew, aged and healed.
The authors noted that the findings also add new insight into paleopathology – the study of pathological conditions that affected ancient humans and animals.
The field plays an important role in modern pathology: It can help scientists pinpoint causality and track the evolutionary history of illnesses, helping us to better understand and combat them.
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