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Fossilised dinosaur vertebra showing a tumour, United States, Triassic Age

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Disease has a very long history on Earth. Dating from the Triassic era – approximately 200 to 251 million years ago – this fossilised dinosaur vertebrae is an extraordinarily early example of a tumour. It is thought to be a form of arthritis, where the soft tissue hardens around bone. The fossil was excavated in Arizona, USA, between 1860 and 1920. The bone was originally in the collection of Roy Moodie (1880-1934), an American paleopathologist who studied prehistoric disease.

Object number:

A634810

Related Themes and Topics

 

Glossary:

Glossary: fossil

The remains of an animal or plant found in rocks.

Glossary: arthritis

Inflammation of joints; swelling, pain and decreased mobility are typical symptoms.

Glossary: tumour

A swelling caused by an abnormal growth of cells.

Glossary: vertebrae

A bone that is part of the spinal column.