Scientists have found that dinosaurs, too, suffered from arthritis establishing that the giant lizards in old age had the same problem like modern animals and humans.
Paleontologists from the University of Bristol, UK have discovered first signs that arthritis was not strange to dinosaurs. They came to this conclusion after examining specimen from a female pliosaur Pliosaurus found in Westbury in the English county of Wiltshire. Results of the research are published in the journal Paleontology, and brief description can be found on the website of the university.
On the jaws of giant predator, reaching the length of 8 meters, who lived during the Upper Jurassic period about 150 million years ago, scientists have found obvious symptoms of arthritis, a disease that eventually led to its death.
Sea reptile Pliosaurus had huge head up to two meters, similar to the heads of crocodiles, 20-centimeter teeth, short neck, cetacean body and four powerful fins.
Professor Judyth Sassoon, head of the team who found the bones of pliosaur and restored it to its head, is confident that in its lower jaw the marine reptile had developed arthritis and pliosaur lived with it for years. Gradually, the jaw weakened and eventually got broken. With broken jaw, the dinosaur didn’t live long.
The team discovered that the left joint of animal that connects jaw to the skull, was struck by arthritis like disease. As a result the lower jaw of pliosar was heavily skewed with respect to upper one and even after formation of malocclusion the dinosaur continued to eat.
Having carefully studied the lower jaw, scientists have put forward a hypothesis about the cause of pliosaur’s death: formation of malocclusion in the jaw led to fracture that made it impossible for her to eat.
Specimen of the pliosaur has been kept at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.
Similar problems are found by scientists now in crocodiles and sperm whales, reports The Times. Arthritis in the jaw gives a lot of pain, but as long as the animal can eat, its life is not threatened.
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