Dinosaurs often experienced coughs, sneezing, high fevers and headaches — just like we do, according to a recent batch of research.
What happened: Researchers recently discovered the first bit of evidence that sauropods — lock-necked, herbivore dinosaurs — experienced respiratory illnesses, according to a study published in the Scientific Reports journal.
- These dinosaurs lived about 150 million years ago.
- They were often found living in an area that is now Montana.
Details: Researchers found a fossil — which they named “Dolly” — that shows crooked and haphazard bone structures in the neck.
- The bones — which were connected to the air sacs and the lungs — had an “abnormal appearance,” which “was likely caused by a raging respiratory infection that may have led to the animal’s death when it was 15 to 20 years old, researchers found,” according to Live Science.
What they’re saying: “The fact that we had these weird structures at that junction where the respiratory hose connects into the vertebrae — that was a really good point in cuing us to the fact that this might be respiratory-related,” said study author Cary Woodruff, director of paleontology at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, Montana, per Live Science.
- “We’ve all experienced these same symptoms — coughing, trouble breathing, fever and here’s a 150-million-year-old dinosaur that likely felt as miserable as we all do when we’re sick.” Woodruff said, per Science Daily.
The bottom line: “We have to continue to expand our knowledge of ancient diseases. If we look hard enough, we may begin to understand more about the evolution of immunity and infectious disease,” said Ewan Wolf, a University of New Mexico research assistant and professor.
- “When we work together between multiple specialties — veterinarians, anatomists, paleontologists, paleopathologists, and radiologists we can come away with a more complete picture of ancient disease.”