Fossil shows off that even the dinosaurs suffered arthritis 150 million years ago
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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:02 AM
Dinosaurs suffered painful arthritis in their huge joints, scientists revealed for the first time today. Researchers found signs of a degenerative condition similar to human arthritis in the jaw of a pliosaur - an ancient sea reptile that lived 150 million years ago. The discovery marks the first time arthritis-like diseases have been found in fossilised Jurassic reptiles.
A team from Bristol University examined a giant specimen of the pliosaur Pliosaurus dating from the Upper Jurassic period, which was found in Westbury, Wiltshire. The eight metre long creature had a large crocodile-like head, a short neck, whale-like body and four powerful flippers to propel it through water. It has huge jaws and teeth 20cm long - capable of ripping most other reptiles or dinosaurs to pieces - but suffered from an arthritis-like disease, they found. This caused its left jaw joint to erode, displacing its lower jaw to one side. The dinosaur is believed to have suffered with the condition for years as there are marks on the bone of the lower jaw where the teeth from the upper jaw impacted during feeding.
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