Cancer was already present in dinosaurs, says scientific study. (iStok / heckepics)
For the first time in the history of paleontology, a team of Canadian researchers have discovered a dinosaur fossil that suffered from cancer.
The study recently published in the specialized journal The Lancet Oncology is causing a stir among the scientific community since it sheds new light on the evolution of cancer throughout history.
It was while analyzing a leg bone of a Centrosaurus apertus, a large 76-million-year-old herbivorous dinosaur, that researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and McMaster University noticed that the beast had osteosarcoma, a rather aggressive bone cancer that can also affect humans.
The remains of this specimen were discovered by paleontologists in 1989 in the province of Alberta, central Canada. We know that he did not die of cancer even though the disease seems quite advanced.
“The dinosaurs did not have an easy life, several of them had healing fractures, or bone infections,” one of the study’s authors, Mark Crowther, told AFP.