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RE: Terminology question

>But would the word paleopathology apply to it, in that case?
This response is from my boyfriend, Darren Tanke (dinosaur paleopathology 
worker). He states that 'paleopathology' only relates to instances where there 
is a bodily response to an injury or disease. For example, a callus around a 
fractured bone or bone degeneration around a diseased or parasitic area. A 
tooth-mark with no healing is not considered paleopathology, but a taphonomic 
signature because it happened after the animal died. If you are preyed upon and 
bitten (even if you live for hours after the bite occurred) or scavenged upon 
later (leaving bitemarks) you are dead. Dead bone cannot heal. Thus it is not 
considered a paleopathology. You must have evidence of the bone responding by 
healing or fighting off an infection for it to be considered 'paleopathology'.  

 To a paleopathologist, unhealed toothmarks do not equal paleopathology because 
you can never know how soon before or after death they occurred. They are 
instead a taphonomic signature.

The take home message is "Dead bone can't heal!". 

 Hope this helps!

Patty : )
Patty Ralrick, MSc
Drumheller, AB, Canada

"Talking isn't something you can do judiciously unless you keep in practice." - 
Mr. Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) in "Maltese Falcon"