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Re: Ceratopsian pathology and dinosaur arthritis (NOT!)



Darren Tanke wrote:
 
>  Given Dr. Rothschilds extensive knowledge of the topic, his continuous
> extensive travels worldwide and other paleopathologists continuing search
> for possible osteoarthritis in dinosaurs- one can deduce that this form of
> osteopathy is most conspicuous in its absence or extreme rarity. One can
> confidently say that dinosaurs were basically unaffected by arthritis. This
> is one advantage they had over us. But why is the question.

Age, or more precisely, lack thereof.  Osteoarthritis is a condition most 
prevalent in older animals.  Perhaps I should clarify this to mean middleaged 
and 
beyond, not just an absolute year thing, just for all those nitpickers out 
there. 
 Very few animals in the wild ever get old enough to show senescent phenomenon. 
 
This is seen in the vast increase in this sort of thing in domestic pets and 
zoo 
animals over their wild counterparts.
This is very similar to an article that a geology professor told me about that 
claimed the modern lifestyle is less healthy than earlier times because of the 
increase in deaths from heart attacks and cancer. Seemed like a good point 
until 
my prof pointed out that his study also showed that very few people comprising 
his 
historical dataset lived long enough to worry about old age afflictions.

The other explanation is that it is not something that is going to happen to 
the 
majority of individuals anyway so its chances of being preserved as a fossil 
are 
correspondingly lower.

Oh, one other thing, as has been mentioned many times on this list, the 
abscence 
of data does not allow one to confidently say it didn't happen, especially when 
we're talking about something in which our ability to get data is as limited as 
it 
is in this case.

Joe Daniel

jdaniel@aristotle.net