Dinosaurs had CANCER: Tumour found in 240 million-year-old fossil

Dinosaurs had CANCER: Tumour found in 240 million-year-old fossil

DINOSAURS suffered from the same cancers that affect humans today, it has been confirmed. DISCOVERY: The malignant tumour was discovered inside a turtle’s leg bone (Pic: GETTY) A malignant tumour was discovered inside a turtle’s leg bone that dates all the way back to the Triassic Period – 240 million years ago. It is evidence


DINOSAURS suffered from the same cancers that affect humans today, it has been confirmed.

DISCOVERY: The malignant tumour was discovered inside a turtle’s leg bone (Pic: GETTY)

A malignant tumour was discovered inside a turtle’s leg bone that dates all the way back to the Triassic Period – 240 million years ago.

It is evidence of what is likely to be the earliest case of cancer ever discovered.

German scientists made the bombshell discovery while examining the fossilised remains of a stem turtle, which lived alongside dinosaurs and the earliest mammals.

The shell-less turtle – known as Pappochelys rosinae – was found in a quarry in the country’s southwest in 2015.

Turtle cancer found

PREHISTORIC: the leg bone dates all the way back to the Triassic Period (Pic: GETTY)

Turtle fossil found to contain cancer

CANCER: The discovery shows dinosaurs suffered from very similar diseases to humans (Pic: GETTY)

German scientists made the bombshell discovery

ANCESTOR: The turtle would have looked very different to today’s species as it had no shell (Pic: GETTY)

However, details of the thigh tumour, which was found using a CT scan, have only been revealed by science journals this week.

Dr Patrick Asbach, a radiologist at Berlin’s Charité University of Medicine and co-author of the study, told National Geographic that the cancer “looks almost exactly like osteosarcoma in humans”. 

He added: “It is interesting to see that the diseases we know quite well also appeared in extinct animals, and that we as humans are not the only ones who struggle with it.”

The earliest case of human cancer ever found was an osteosarcoma present in the 1.7 million-year-old remains of an early human ancestor in South Africa.

Yara Haridy, a palaeontologist at Berlin’s Museum of Natural History, described the discovery of the disease as “ridiculously rare in the fossil record”.

“Most cancers are in soft tissues, and although we can see sometimes evidence of soft tissue pathologies on [fossil] bone, cancer would be really hard to diagnose that way.”



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