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Study finds first evidence indicating dinosaur respiratory infection

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

The fossilized remains of an immature diplodocid—a large, long-necked herbivorous sauropod dinosaur, like Brontosaurus—may provide the first evidence of a unique respiratory infection in a dinosaur, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The findings increase our understanding of the illnesses that affected dinosaurs.

The specimen, nicknamed "Dolly," was discovered in southwest Montana, U.S., and dates back to the Late Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era (approximately 150 million years ago). Cary Woodruff of the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, along with his colleagues, examined three of the cervical vertebrae (the bones from the neck) from Dolly and identified never-before-seen abnormal bony protrusions that had an unusual shape and texture. These protrusions were located in an area of each bone where they would have been penetrated by air-filled sacs. These air sacs would have ultimately connected to Dolly's lungs and formed part of the dinosaur's complex respiratory system. CT imaging of the irregular protrusions revealed that they were made of abnormal bone that most likely formed in response to an infection.



The first occurrence of an avian-style respiratory infection in a non-avian dinosaur


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I sympathize.  I contracted an Aspergullis  infection 40 years ago. So far nothing has been able to get rid of it.  I presume I got it from tree bark working near a debarker.   It is also transmissible from birds to humans.  I met another patient who contracted it that way.   Sadly I found out he died after a couple of years.  

For dinos, I suspect it would slow them down and weaken them.  It would seem likely they would fall to predation before the disease killed them. 


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Just imagine a huge animal like a sauropod coughing and sneezing (like that scene in Jurassic Park) or having a sore throat with a neck like that!
Plus they probably had no way of seeking relief from their symptoms.

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