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First Fossil Facial Tumor on Dinosaur Found in Transylvania

Image: First Fossil Facial Tumor on Dinosaur Found in Transylvania
(Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 10:53 AM

The first fossil of a facial tumor on a dinosaur was recently found in the jaw of a dwarf duck-billed hadrosaur in Transylvania. 

The Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus fossil was found in what is called the "Valley of the Dinosaurs" in the Haţeg County Dinosaurs Geopark in western Romania, according to a University of Southampton study. It is estimated to be from 67 to 69 million years old.

The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Tuesday.

"This discovery is the first ever described in the fossil record and the first to be thoroughly documented in a dwarf dinosaur," said Kate Acheson, a doctoral student from the University of Southampton.

"Telmatosaurus is known to be close to the root of the duck-billed dinosaur family tree, and the presence of such a deformity early in their evolution provides us with further evidence that the duck-billed dinosaurs were more prone to tumors than other dinosaurs." 

Acheson was part of group of international researchers that have documented a type of non-cancerous facial tumor, which has been found in humans, mammals and some modern reptiles, but not in fossil animals.

"Ancient diseases have been recognized for well over a century in dinosaurs and other pre-Cenozoic fossil vertebrate groups such as pterosaurs, crurotarsans, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, turtles, or synapsids," researchers said in the study's introduction.

"… Now, a hadrosauroid specimen from the Maastrichtian of the Haţeg Basin provides the first evidence of a pathological condition (a neoplasm) previously unrecognized in the dinosaurian fossil record, and at the same time of a well-documented pathological modification in a Romanian dinosaur." 

Live Science said it is rare to find evidence of tumors on dinosaur bone. Researchers had previously found two tumors on an individual titanosuar, a long-necked, long-tailed herbivorous dinosaur, and the duck-billed Brachylophosaurus, Gilmoreosaurus, Bactrosaurus and Edmontosaurus.

Tumors were also found in the Jurassic era Dilophosaurus wetherilli, as well, but the tumors in all of the previous discoveries were not in the dinosaurs' faces, said Live Science.

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The first fossil of a facial tumor on a dinosaur was recently found in the jaw of a dwarf duck-billed hadrosaur in Transylvania.
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2016-53-06
Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 10:53 AM
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