Scientists have used state-of-the-art imaging techniques to examine the cracks, fractures and breaks in the bones of a 150-million-year-old predatory dinosaur.
The University of Manchester researchers say their work using synchrotron-imaging techniques sheds new light on the healing process of these amazing animals.
The research, published in the Royal Society journal Interface, took advantage of the fact that dinosaur bones occasionally preserve evidence of trauma, sickness and the subsequent signs of healing.
Synchrotron-based imaging uses light brighter than 10 billion Suns.
The impact of massive trauma, they discovered, seemed to be shrugged off by many predatory dinosaurs.
Fossil bones often showed a multitude of grizzly healed injuries, most of which would prove fatal to humans if not medically treated.
Dr Phil Manning, one of the paper’s authors based in Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, said:
“Using synchrotron imaging, we were able to detect astoundingly dilute traces of chemical signatures that reveal not only the difference between normal and healed bone, but also how the damaged bone healed.
“It seems dinosaurs evolved a splendid suite of defence mechanisms to help regulate the healing and repair of injuries. The ability to diagnose such processes some 150 million years later might well shed new light on how we can use Jurassic chemistry in the 21st Century.”
Co-author Jennifer Anné said: “Bone does not form scar tissue, like a scratch to your skin, so the body has to completely reform new bone following the same stages that occurred as the skeleton grew in the first place. This means we are able to tease out the chemistry of bone development through such pathological studies.”
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