WEDNESDAY December 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – They once ruled the planet, but even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex could be suffering from bone disease, new research shows.
Scientists used the imagery to examine the left lower jaw of a fossilized T. rex skeleton discovered in Montana in 2010. The skeleton, which is around 68 million years old and one of the most complete skeletons in the world never found carnivorous dinosaur, can be found at the museum. für Naturkunde Berlin in Germany.
“Although this is a proof-of-concept study, non-invasive DECT imaging that provides structural and molecular information on unique fossil objects has the potential to address an unmet need in paleontology, by avoiding defragmentation or destruction, ”said Dr Charlie Hamm, radiologist at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, who led the study.
Hamm’s team performed a visual inspection and used a non-invasive dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) scan to examine the skeleton. DECT uses X-rays at two different energy levels to provide information on tissue composition and disease processes that cannot be obtained with a mono-energy scanner.
The research team found a thickening and mass on the surface of the jawbone that extended to the root of a tooth. DECT has detected a significant build-up of the element fluorine in the mass, which is associated with areas of decreased bone density.
The mass and buildup of fluoride supports the diagnosis that T. rex had a bone infection called tumefactive osteomyelitis, the researchers said.
The team presented its findings Wednesday in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Research presented at the meetings should be considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Oliver Hampe, senior scientist and vertebrate paleontologist at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, said the DECT approach holds promise in other paleontological applications, including age determination and differentiation of real bones from replicas.
“The experimental design, including the use of a clinical CT scanner, will allow wide applications,” Hampe added in an RSNA press release.
The United States National Library of Medicine has more information on bone infections.
SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, press release, December 1, 2021