June 9, 2020

A new approach for identifying pathologic bone in living and extinct species

PIs: Lindsay Zanno, Christopher Walker, Ethan Hyland (NC State)

Spring 2020 Seed Grant in Innovative Evolutionary Medicine

In order to understand how life has adapted to deal with trauma and fight disease, scientists must first have the tools to confidently identify pathology in extinct species across evolutionary timescales. Our project brings together a diverse team of paleontologists, geochemists, anatomists, and veterinary pathologists to test a new tool for identifying bone pathology in the fossil record based on how carbon and oxygen are organized in the crystal structure of bone. We test the technique in archosaurs-—a group of organisms including birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs—that dominated life on land for more than 180 million years.

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