The severe form of arthritis was found in the elbow of a plant-eating dinosaur and is the first example of sceptic arthritis in fossilized dinosaur bones.
It’s not unknown that we are not the only species that suffers from painful arthritis – animals such as cats, dogs and birds have all found to develop forms of the disease that targets the joints and bones. But a team of researchers have identified a 70 million year-old dinosaur that had a severe form of arthritis in its elbow.
The hadrosaur was a duck-billed dinosaur that feasted on plants and vegetation and the fossilized bones of one particular specimen was x-rayed and revealed an aggressive, sceptic form of arthritis that meant it would have endured considerable pain according to a report by New Scientist.
The team of researchers led by Jennifer Anné from the University of Manchester in England examined the bone and found it had tiny bone growths around the joint that ruled out a more common version of arthritis called osteomyelitis. Instead this was a much more aggressive and painful form and it is thought the animal suffered for a long time before its death.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first recorded account of septic arthritis in dinosaurs. The severity of the pathology suggests the animal suffered with this condition for some time before death,” stated Anné.
A high resolution CT scan, accessed through Harvard’s microCT scanning facility was used to study the bones in more detail, which meant the procedure was non-evasive or destructive to the bone structure within the fossil. It also helped conclude that this particular hadrosaur would possibly have walked with a limp because of the condition and it may have not been able to use the arm at all.
The team say that, although arthritis has been found in other dinosaurs, this is the first time sceptic arthritis has been discovered in the extinct species.
Details of the research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.