Scientists reject the theory about the infectious origin of holes in the skull of the largest tyrannosaurus rex

(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have speculated that the mysterious holes in the lower jaw of Sue, the largest specimen of a Tyrannosaurus rex, were caused by protozoan microparasite infestation.

However, after examining these holes more closely, the scientists found no signs of an infectious disease: something else left holes in Sue’s skull.

In August 1990, American researcher Sue Hendrickson discovered one of the best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons, with over 90 percent of the original bones intact over 67 million years.

This skeleton, nicknamed Sue , is now on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Sue is one of the oldest known tyrannosaurs: the animal lived for about thirty years, and during its long life received a lot of injuries.

One of the most mysterious injuries is rounded holes in the lower jaw, the size of a golf ball, about whose origin paleontologists have been arguing for years.

One of the most popular theories was an infection with Trichomonas protozoa , which still today infect the descendants of dinosaurs, birds, sometimes causing damage to the beak.

To definitively establish whether Sue suffered from trichomoniasis, scientists compared the damage to her jaw with traces of infection in other animals, including birds.

After examining the holes in the skull, scientists found that Sue received injuries in her lifetime, since the holes had already begun to grow over, but had not fully recovered at the time of the animal’s death.

Also, comparing the T. rex skull with those of modern animals with trichomoniasis, the researchers did not find characteristic holes similar to Sue’s injuries in the latter, so something else most likely damaged the T. rex skull.

Scientists reject the theory about the infectious origin of holes in the skull of the largest tyrannosaurus rex 2
Sue’s skull in the museum is stored separately from the rest of the skeleton

Perhaps it was the teeth or claws of another tyrannosaurus rex that Sue had a fight with, or a rough tyrannosaurus courtship ritual, or some other non-Trichomonas infection.

Now paleontologists will have to further study these mysterious damage, in the hope of one day still unraveling the mystery of the age of 67 million years.


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