New Study Reveals Bone-Healing Ability of Dinosaurs

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By sangeetha seshagiri | May 8, 2014 6:44 PM EST

Dinosaurs had evolved defence mechanisms to help heal their injuries, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Manchester, U.K., used state-of-the-art synchrotron-imaging techniques to examine the cracks and fractures in the bones of a 150 million-year-old dinosaur. Their study was based on the fact that dinosaur bones occasionally preserve evidence of trauma, sickness and even signs of healing.

Reuters
The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar dinosaur is pictured in this undated handout photo received by Reuters October 17, 2012.

Previously, diagnosis of such fossils was relied on the inspection of distorted bones and healed fractures. It was often required to slice through a fossil to reveal its secrets. But, for their new study, the University of Manchester researchers utilised synchrotron-imaging technique, which uses light brighter than 10 billion suns.

"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," Dr Phil Manning, one of the paper's authors based in Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, said in a statement.

Manning and his team members found that the fossil bones often showed a large number of healed injuries, most of which would prove fatal to humans if they were not treated properly. "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," said Manning.

"The chemistry of life leaves clues throughout our bodies in the course of our lives that can help us diagnose, treat and heal a multitude of modern-day ailments. It's remarkable that the very same chemistry that initiates the healing of bone in humans also seems to have followed a similar pathway in dinosaurs," he said.

The findings of the study are published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

(Ed: AJ)

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(Photo: Reuters / )
The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar dinosaur is pictured in this undated handout photo received by Reuters October 17, 2012.
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