Ancient sea reptile with gammy jaw suggests dinosaurs got arthritis too
Press release issued 16 May 2012
Imagine having arthritis in your jaw bones… if they’re over 2 metres long! A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol has 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. Such a disease has never been described before in fossilised Jurassic reptiles.
The Bristol scientists studied a giant specimen of the pliosaur Pliosaurus dating from the Upper Jurassic. Found in Westbury, Wiltshire, it has been kept since its discovery in the collections of the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. The 8 metre long pliosaur was a terrifying creature with a large, crocodile-like head, a short neck, whale-like body and four powerful flippers to propel it through water in pursuit of prey. With its huge jaws and 20 cm long teeth, it would have been capable of ripping most other marine reptiles or dinosaurs to pieces, but this particular individual was the unfortunate victim of an arthritis-like disease.
Read rest here: http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2012/8488.html