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RE: Pathology?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
> Dinosaur World
> Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 7:35 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Pathology?
> Are there any examples of skeletons with some major pathology, or injury
> to
> the bone? (Something similar to the injuries in Stan skeleton, perhaps.)

There are plenty--Sue is an example (although who knows what was actually
wrong with the skeleton for most of those injuries), as is "Big Al"
(mentioned by Dan Varner), and a few other skeletons.

> I'm trying to find a creature that would make for an interesting story.
> One
> that perhaps a forensic pathologist would be able to look at the bones and
> give us his/her impression as to what happened to cause the injuries.

See above examples for cases where this has worked, with rather variable

> Are there any forensic pathologists out there who work with you folks?

A number of folks with non-paleo specialities (e.g., Bruce Rothschild, a
doctor who specializes in arthritis) have tried their hand at
paleopathology. Unfortunately, this is also the major problem facing
paleopathology, too. Most folks who get involved in it have a background in
human or mammalian pathology. This works great in some cases, but more often
than not results in diagnoses that are specific to the point of being
ridiculous. Roy Moodie's work is a great example of this. Although he did a
wonderful job of noting and describing pathologies, he also saw the world of
dinosaur injury through the lens of mammalian pathology. Consequently, many
of his (and others') diagnoses are probably a little off the mark.

Paleopathology is a huge frontier right now. What it needs is more folks who
are willing to study pathologies in modern non-mammals. It also needs more
folks who are willing to say "I don't know" when asked about the cause of an
odd mark on a fossil bone. Ewan Wolff (grad student in Montana), Elizabeth
Regas, and others are leading this charge.

My two cents,