Disease found in Dinosaur affects children to date


A rare disease that still affects humans – mostly children – is found in a dinosaur. The dinosaur roamed the earth at least 66 million years ago. Researchers at Tel Aviv University noticed unusual cavities in two tail segments of the dinosaur.

The tails unearthed at the Dinosaur Provincial Park in southern Alberta, Canada.  They compared the vertebrae with skeletons of two humans known to have a benign tumour. A benign tumour, also known as Langerhans Cell histiocytosis, is a rare and sometimes painful disease that affects children, mainly boys.

The dinosaur

It lived in a place known as Alberta Canada, ages ago when names did not exist. It came from the family of the Duck-billed herbivore. To date, all that remains of the creature is a bone segment from the ancient tail.

Eight segments of the eleven pieces of the vertebrae exhibited various pathological conditions. The bones showed unusual lesions never seen in dinosaurs before. Millions of years later, researchers identified the cause of the dinosaur’s death.

Evolutionary anatomist, Hila May explained that the cavities found on the creature’s tails are similar to holes produced by tumours. In a new study, an international team used micro-CT scanning to investigate the mysterious cavities.

The analysis confirmed that the researcher’s suspicion. It indicated that the rare form of cancer had existed on earth for at least 66 million years.

The creature one day just swung its tail one last time and died, cause unknown millions of years later. However, with the research, they identified cancer as the cause of death.

The research

Hila May said that they scanned the dinosaur vertebrae and created a computerized 3D reconstruction of the tumour and vessels that fed it. She added that the micro and macro analyses confirmed the presence of the tumour.

Researchers explain in their study that; dinosaur is not the first animal identified with the LCH. Previous research suggests that, tree shrews and tigers have similar pathology as the dinosaur.

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH)

LCH is a rare type of cancer where excess Immune system cells build up forming tumours called granulomas. The disease usually affects young children. The condition causes pain and swelling; however, patients experiencing LCH recover.

Researchers said that the exact cause of the disease is not yet known, but with the newfound evidence it could be found.

Palaeopathologist Israel Hershkovititz said that the ultimate goal of the study is to understand the real cause of the rare illnesses and the evolutionary mechanisms that allow them to develop and survive.

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