Even dinosaurs had parasites


Fossilised faeces and holes in ancient jawbones show that dinosaurs, like modern animals, were plagued by parasites.



Even mighty dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex were not immune from being pestered by parasites, as this video from PBS’s Gross Science explains.

By examining fossilised dinosaur droppings – known as coprolites – palaeontologists have found evidence of internal parasites including eggs from flatworms and roundworms, and cysts that look like those formed by modern amoebas. A 100-million-year-old fly has also been found preserved in amber that hosted a malaria-like parasite in its own guts, indicating that dinosaurs too may have been prey to the tiny infectious organism. Distinctive holes in T. rex jawbones may also be signs of a parasite that caused invasive ulcers in the mouth and throat.

It just goes to show that strength and size are no defence against parasites. For that, you need hygiene and – if all else fails – modern medicine.

Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
  1. http://www.pbssocal.org/programs/gross-science/dinosaur-parasites-7kzjfq/
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