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Odontochelys (Triassic turtle) with decompression syndrome

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Bruce M. Rothschild and Virginia Naples (2013)
Decompression syndrome and diving behavior in Odontochelys, the first turtle
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (in press)
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4202/app.2012.0113

Odontochelys semitestacea, the oldest known turtle, from the Late
Triassic of China, shows a pathology. Sharply defined, focal
depressions were noted on the articular surfaces of both humeri,
documenting avascular necrosis. Diving habits of Mesozoic marine
reptiles have been characterized on the basis of this localized form
of bone death attributed to decompression syndrome. Pursuit by a
predator was likely the cause of dangerously rapid depth changes by
swimming turtles. The prevalence of avascular necrosis decreased
geometrically from the Cretaceous to the Pleistocene. This study
suggests that the habit of repetitive diving in turtles was already
present in the Late Triassic, but that protective physiological and
behavioral adaptations had not yet evolved.