Malta MT: Ancient Dinosaur Wracked with Respiratory Infection-First of its Kind

An Apatosaurus, also known as a Brontosaurus, drinking from a lake.

Ancient remains of a sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) indicated the reptile had a respiratory infection. This is the first-ever of its kind to have been discovered. And it happened in Montana.

MALTA, Mont. – Montana is home to many dinosaurs, and now scientists have made another dino-sized discovery about the giants that roamed the earth millions of years ago.

Director of paleontology, Dr. Cary Woodruff, from the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum & Fieldhouse in Malta, found the first bird-like respiratory infection in a dinosaur.

The infection was discovered in a sauropod, or long-necked dinosaur, nicknamed Dolly, that Woodruff helped collect from Livingston and is housed at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

Dolly was originally found in the ’90s by the Museum of the Rockies and stayed in “jackets” or a protective layer.

When Woodruff was a master’s student, he started cleaning off the bones.

“We realized, ‘wow, Dolly is an amazing fossil.’ We had the skull and part of the neck, which is very rare, especially the skull,” said Woodruff.

Then they went to get the rest of Dolly in 2013, and it wasn’t until 2018 that they finished up and could start examining the bones.

“We really can’t do any of the science until the bones are cleaned; we call it prepared. They’ve all been glued back together, and they’re safe for us scientists to handle and study,” said Woodruff.

Woodruff tells Montana Right Now if Dolly showed symptoms today, it would have been much like what we experience with a cold or the flu.

This allows us to better understand what the dinosaur may have gone through when it was alive.

“We’ve all felt really crappy when we’re sick. Right, we’ve all been coughing, and we’ve all been sneezing. And yet you can hold that bone from Dolly, one of these infected bones in your hand, and you know that 150 million years ago you and Dolly would have felt the same symptoms, you both would have felt as ‘icky’ when you were sick,” said Woodruff.

Read the rest of the story here.

This article was contributed by Joee Taylor of MMJ.


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