Dinosaurs loom in the imagination as forces of nature, but a new study identifying the first known case of cancer in the creatures shows they suffered from the debilitating disease too.
A badly malformed Centrosaurus leg bone unearthed in the Alberta, Canada badlands in 1989 had originally been thought by paleontologists to be a healed fracture.
But a fresh examination of the growth under a microscope using a technique also employed in human cancer care determined it was actually a malignant tumor.
Study co-author and McMaster University medical faculty chair Mark Crowther said, “The cancer discovery makes dinosaurs more real. We often think of them as mythical creatures, robust and stomping around, but (the diagnosis shows) they suffered from diseases just like people. Oddly enough, under a microscope it looked a lot like human Osteosarcoma.”
The findings were published in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology.