66-million-year-old fossil reveals injuries suggesting dinosaur fought with its own kind - Bark Sedov

66-million-year-old fossil reveals injuries suggesting dinosaur fought with its own kind

TRICERATOPS WAS ARMED with three horns and a shield-like ruff that would have made him an intimidating opponent. Now, in a new study published on May 7 Scientific ReportsInjuries preserved in fossils suggest that these dinosaurs may have fought their own kind at times.

What the researchers did — The scientists analyzed fossils of the triceratops Specimen known as “Big John”, so named for its size. The bones were discovered in South Dakota in 2014 in the rock bed known as the Hell Creek Formation and are approximately 66 to 72 million years old.

The team focused on injuries to Big John’s skull. Previously, scientists had suggested triceratopsThe bony ruff could have protected it from injuries in a fight with other conspecifics.

WHAT THEY FOUND — The scientists discovered that the right side of Big John’s ruffle was damaged by a keyhole-shaped opening that went completely through the ruffle. The bone surface around this hole was irregular and covered with plaque-like deposits that could result from inflammation, possibly infection.

When the researchers analyzed microscopic samples from the ruff, they found that the bone tissue at the edges around the hole was porous, with many blood vessels compared to bone tissue further away from the hole, suggesting it was newly formed bone acted. The edges of the hole also showed small pits, which are signs of bone remodeling — the continuous process of synthesis and destruction that helps bone respond to changing needs.

Taken together, these features suggest that Big John had a wound that was healing at the time of his death. Sulfur, which has been spotted around the edges of the hole but is almost entirely absent elsewhere in the frill, may also come from molecules generated during healing. Considering how long it takes modern reptiles to heal from traumatic injuries, scientists estimated that Big John died at least six months after his wound.

Previous research suggested triceratops could damage each other if they lock the horns from the front. However, with cast models from triceratops Horns to conduct combat simulations, the scientists concluded that Big John’s ruff was probably attacked from behind by someone else’s horn triceratopssays the study’s lead author, Ruggero D’Anastasio, a paleopathologist at the Gabriele D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara in Italy The opposite.

“I think the results of the study clearly confirm the existence of intraspecific fighting in Triceratops,” says D’Anastasio. “The reasons for these fights have yet to be clarified.”

“This is a very interesting study that helps confirm the idea that triceratops used their huge, sharp horns to fight each other,” says Tyler Lyson, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science who was not involved in this research The opposite. “It’s specimens like this that really help bring these ancient beasts back to life and help us imagine how they lived when they walked this planet some 67 million years ago.”

WHAT’S NEXT? These results suggest that healing mechanisms in dinosaurs “appear to be very similar to those in mammals,” says D’Anastasio. In mammals, bone cells first absorb injured bone and then grow new bone, similar to what apparently happened in Big John.

Lyson is concerned that Big John was recently sold to a private collector “and therefore cannot be readily examined by scientists.” A fundamental tenet in science “is testability and reproducibility, something that cannot be done when a sample is in private hands and not made available to scientists.”

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