American scientists have for the first time found evidence that dinosaurs could also develop bone cancer.
Paleontologists discovered this when they re-examined malformations on the fossil of a centrosaurus – a horned, herbivorous dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period more than 70 million years ago.
The fossil was excavated in the Canadian province of Alberta in 1989 and was notable for a fibula defect, which was then assessed by scientists as a healed fracture. New research with detailed CT scans only found it likely to be an aggressive form of bone cancer.
The tumor was the size of an apple, the scientists said in an article in the scientific journal Lancet Oncology.
Weakened and paralyzed
“This shows that, no matter how big or strong dinosaurs sometimes seemed, they were affected by the same diseases that humans and animals face today,” paleontologist David Evans of the University of Toronto told Reuters news agency.
Evans thinks the Centrosaurus was weakened and paralyzed by the cancer. The disease may not have been the reason for his death. The dinosaur was excavated in a field with the remains of hundreds of its kind. The flock had probably been raided by a flood.