The first case of a probable Respiratory infection in a dinosaur non-avian has been discovered by American scientists studying the fossil of a specimen of long neck called Dolly.
Nicknamed after singer Dolly Parton, the creature was found to have abnormal, irregularly shaped bony protrusions on three of its neck bones, paleontologists said in a paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.
The team, led by Cary Woodruff, director of paleontology at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, studied the bones using CT imaging and concluded that the bumps likely formed in response to prolonged infection in the creature’s alveoli.
Dolly may have died of a respiratory infection
“Given the likely symptoms this animal suffered from, holding these infected bones in your hands, you can’t help but feel sorry for Dolly… we’ve all experienced these same symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, fever, etc., and here’s a dinosaur. 150 million years old who was probably just as miserable as all of us when we’re sick,” Woodruff said in a statement.
As we mentioned in AmericanPost.Newsthe exact cause of the infection remains undetermined, and scientists say it’s hard to understand dinosaur diseases with just bones and no soft tissue to study.
However, they assumed the most likely cause was a fungal disease similar to aspergillosis, which is the most common respiratory disease in birds and can lead to bone infection and be fatal if left untreated.
The dinosaur contracted the disease shortly before his death
The 15- to 20-year-old dinosaur contracted the disease shortly before her death, and could have died from an infection, though scientists couldn’t say exactly how long after becoming ill Dolly died.
It is possible that the environment of the region in which the dinosaur lived contributed to the contraction and development of the disease. The fossil, including the dinosaur’s skull and spine, was first discovered in 1990 in Montana.
It was a tall-necked diplodocid herbivore, and was about 18 meters long. The remains are estimated to be 150 million years old. Previous research has shown that dinosaurs could suffer from cancer and infection from injuries.
Woodruff’s team expressed hope that future research will allow them to improve their understanding of the diseases that plagued dinosaurs, gain a better understanding of their physiology, and track and understand modern medical conditions.
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