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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Jurassic Arthritis Was a Jawbreaker
15 May 2012 6:00 pm
Few things could slay a giant beast wielding teeth the size of kitchen knives, but a new discovery reveals that arthritis was one of them. Scientists examined the massive, pointy jaw of an ocean-dwelling pliosaur (artist's conception, right), a whale-sized reptile with a head like a crocodile, and concluded that the animal suffered from a degenerative joint condition that likely proved fatal. The disease wore away the left jaw hinge (left) of this 8-meter-long behemoth, causing its lower jaw to hang askew. The crooked-mouthed animal kept on biting, living long enough for its misaligned 20-centimeter-long teeth to etch grooves into the jawbone. But signs of an unhealed fracture indicate that the jaw eventually snapped apart, rendering the animal unable to feed, scientists report today in Palaeontology. The finding illustrates that the death of ancient beasts wasn't all ferocious battles and doomsday asteroids—they, too, suffered the mundane wear and tear of old age.
See more ScienceShots.