Dinosaurs Ever Get Sick?
but it was only one of many related problems
facing the dinosaurs at the end of the
and sickness are caused by many different
things. Some diseases, like colds and
flu, are caused by viruses. Other diseases,
such as cholera, tuberculosis, and the
Black Plague, are caused by bacteria.
Diseases like malaria and some types of
dysentery are caused by parasites, and
diseases like cancer and arthritis are
caused by genetic changes or aging processes.
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People get sick,
animals get sick, and even plants get sick. Did dinosaurs ever get
sick? The only direct evidence we have is from fossils. Some fossils
show deformations that may have been caused by arthritis, cancer,
or infection. Most dinosaur fossils show no evidence of disease
at all. Dinosaurs may have been less affected by disease than humans
are. But then again, most deadly diseases do not affect bones.
Since we cannot
send doctors (or veterinarians) back in time to examine the dinosaurs
directly, we have to gather indirect or circumstantial evidence.
Do we find evidence of disease among living reptiles--the
dinosaurs' cousins--and birds--the dinosaurs'