Did Dinosaurs Get Sick And Hurt Like Humans? – All Pages

Nationalgeographic.co.id—Like humans, dinosaurs could fall sick and get injured. That ancient animal can suffer from toothache until gout, even cancer. By detecting medical conditions in fossils, paleopathologists and experts disease ancient and injured, gained interesting insights into dinosaur behavior and evolution. They study how dinosaurs moved in their world, the relationship between predator and prey, and how dinosaurs of the same species interacted.

However, as CNN recently reported, while they were trying to diagnose disease millions of years old from the fossils, obviously failed in their results.

First, the fossil record only reveals a small part of the creatures that lived in the past, and they come to us after going through many obstacles over millions of years.

Second, fossils have most of the soft tissue missing, so scientists rely on bones for information. And it is often very difficult to determine whether deformations in dinosaur bone structure were caused by disease or destruction of sediment over time.

Paleontologists can identify odd structures, bone overgrowth, rough surfaces, and holes or porous surfaces where they shouldn’t be—without the help of special tools. However, the application of medical advances such as computerized tomography in paleontology has allowed them to peer into what goes on in fossilized bones.

“It’s very important to have an inner view of the bones,” says Filippo Bertozzo, a post-doctoral researcher at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. “If you’re in doubt whether a bone is deformed due to pathology or a geological process, you need to look inside.”

“If geology plays a role, you won’t see changes in cell structure.” Often it takes a number of experts in various fields to confirm the diagnosis. “Paleopathological studies go beyond identifying disease, which opens a window for learning about interactions with the environment and social behavior,” said Penelope Crusader-Knight, a paleontologist at the Research Institute of Palaeobiology and Geology of CONICET, Argentina.

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Parasaurolophus’ tubular hump is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.


For example, paleontologists have long been puzzled by the unusual domed skulls of Pachycephalosaurs – tiny plant-eating dinosaurs that were minor players in the “Jurassic Park” film franchise. The discovery of bone lesions from injuries in the adult species suggests that they use domes to bang their heads—as the great-horned sheep do.

Not only great, but also tough

The most frequently detected pathology in the dinosaur fossil record is fracture. Some dinosaurs appear to have survived severe trauma, which must have left them living in excruciating pain.

Bertozzo has detailed the injuries sustained by one of Parasaurolophus walkeri, a dinosaur with a long curved crest. The fossil was unearthed in 1921 and has been on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for decades.

For years, paleontologists have thought that the V-shaped curve in the dinosaur’s spine was part of its natural posture—perhaps to accommodate its long headgear.

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A new analysis published in 2020 found that the dent was caused by a broken back. The creature also had broken ribs, a deformed pelvis, and dental lesions. Bertozzo believes that the broken back may have been caused by a falling rock or tree, but the dinosaur didn’t die from its injuries – at least not directly. Bertozzo said the creature remained alive for at least four months, and their analysis showed that the wounds began to heal before the creature’s death.

Bertozzo believed that some dinosaurs would have been able to cope with and survive severe injuries. He put forward one hypothesis that a strong immune system was a survival mechanism for some herbivores, such as Hadrosaurs. It lacks the defensive features such as armored plates, spiked tails or sharp horns common to other plant-eating species, such as Triceratops.

Dinosaurs also lived with cancer, which in some cases is similar to today’s humans. A horned dinosaur named Centrosaurus apertus that lived 76 to 77 million years ago in what is now Alberta, Canada, developed cancer. He was diagnosed in a study published in 2020 with osteosarcoma—a malignant bone cancer that can affect humans.

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Fossil of the foot of the Bonapartesaurus in South America.

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Fossil of the foot of the Bonapartesaurus in South America.


Researchers concluded it was an advanced cancer that may have spread throughout the dinosaur’s body. However, the factors that caused the death of one dinosaur may have little chance for other dinosaurs.

Cruzado-Caballero diagnosed the same cancer in Bonapartesaurus, which was discovered in Argentine Patagonia in the 1980s. This dinosaur had excessive growth of cauliflower-like bones in its legs. However, the researchers say, the growth has not spread to other parts of the animal’s body, and he doesn’t think it will greatly affect his daily life.

More painfully possible are the two fractures in his tail, which heal in an abnormal position and may also develop an infection while healing, said Cruzado-Caballero, who is also a professor at La Laguna University in Tenerife, Spain.

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Hungry T-rex

The T-rex was a predatory dinosaur, weighing as much as two African elephants, but it could be defeated by a very small enemy: the parasite.

The lower jaw of T. rex SUE, the most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, has fine spots around its eyes. At first the experts thought it was a bite mark or a bone infection. However, the researchers eventually concluded that the hole was caused by a parasitic infection called trichomonosis. The condition can also affect the mandibles of today’s birds such as pigeons, pigeons, and chickens.

“The parasite effectively feeds on pieces of the jawbone. This dire condition causes severe damage and pain around the mouth, throat and esophagus, making simple things like eating and drinking unpleasant,” he said. Dean Lomax in his book, “Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils.” He is a paleontologist in the University of Manchester’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“Once the animal was infected, feeding would be difficult, and highly unlikely, as seen in live birds, the mighty tyrannosaur lost quite a significant amount of weight before eventually starving to death.”

While T. rex SUE, which is on display at Chicago’s Field Museum, may have starved to death, paradoxically the dinosaurs could have also suffered from other medical problems that in humans have been linked to overeating and drinking too much wine.

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Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of acid in uric acid, which can erode bones. SUE’s right arm has “lesi gout,” quoted from Nature.com.

This condition can afflict today’s animals, including birds and reptiles, due to dehydration or kidney failure. In humans, this is associated with foods that are high in purines, such as red meat—something that undoubtedly makes up the bulk of the T. rex diet.

Is it possible that dinosaurs were also attacked by the Corona Virus?

It is also possible that the dinosaurs suffered from respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, or infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. However, it is unclear whether dinosaurs also contracted a disease similar to Covid-19. The oldest cases of respiratory disease thought to have come from marine reptiles are 245 million years old.

“Birds, especially domesticated birds, do suffer from lung infections. Birds are dinosaurs, and dinosaurs, most likely, had lung systems like birds,” Bertozzo said. “I think dinosaurs suffered from the same lung infections as birds. Of course, Covid is a new disease, we can’t know if something similar happened in the past, so we can’t say whether dinosaurs suffered from a disease like Covid.”

Bertozzo is building a database to record the incidence of trauma and disease across various species of ornithopods—a family of plant-eating dinosaurs that includes the iguanadon, hadrosaurs, and duck-billed dinosaurs. He collects cases from different periods. He hopes this will help answer questions such as which group of dinosaurs were most likely to suffer from the disease, and whether this condition affected their behavior.

“This is a growing field that will give us a lot of information about the life of these fascinating creatures,” he told CNN.

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