Scientists discovered an unfortunate form of dinosaur arthritis in a fossil found near New Jersey. The hadrosaur in question is the first known creature to suffer from septic arthritis.
The researchers analyzed two forearm bones by using a microCT scan from the Harvard University and discovered a weird growth that later was explained by the presence of septic arthritis.
The diagnosis was based on the joint erosion, the fusion of the bones, and the periosteal bone growth.
The dinosaur had probably walked with a limp, had arms bent and was not able to use its elbows. The experts say that the animal suffered from a lot of pain.
The scientists do not know to what extend the rest of the body was affected by the condition, as the fossils were only partial and they did not have a complete skeleton, as most of the fossils found in the Eastern North America.
The fossils are extremely fragile because 70 million years ago New Jersey was under waters. Therefore, the scientists had to use a scanner to see through the material.
The bones were found in the Navesink Formation, situated between the Monmouth and Salem counties.
The dinosaur is supposed to have a length of 25 feet and a height of 10 feet. The animal fed on leaves and twigs and lived in the forests and the swamps near the ocean.
The scientists used the analysis to understand the life history of the Mesozoic terrestrial fauna. The palaeopathologists discovered for the first time the presence of the disease in a dinosaur.
Palaeopathology focuses on the conditions that can appear in vertebrates, as they are more likely to have a bone structure that can be preserved over time.
The New Jersey hadrosaur represents a rare find because of its unusual disease, the first dinosaur arthritis ever discovered. The fossils were difficult to analyze because they are very fragile, and it wouldn’t be the first case when a hard to find dinosaur fossil gets destroyed after an attempt to section the bone.
The X-ray microtomography helped the researchers to analyze the internal structure of the fossils. Septic arthritis was never before being diagnosed in Dinosauria, and in reptiles, it can lead to ankylosis. The most common forms are the chronic and fungal arthritis, and both could have been caused by septic arthritis.
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