First Documented Pathologies in Tenontosaurus tilletti with Comments on Infection in Non-Avian Dinosaurs
MetadataShow full item record
In 2001, a nearly complete sub-adult Tenontosaurus tilletti was collected from the Antlers Formation (Aptian-Albian) of southeastern Oklahoma. Beyond its exceptional preservation, computed tomography (CT) and physical examination revealed this specimen has five pathological elements with four of the pathologies a result of trauma. Left pedal phalanx I-1 and left dorsal rib 10 are both fractured with extensive callus formation in the later stages of healing. Left dorsal rib 7 (L7) and right dorsal rib 10 (R10) exhibit impacted fractures compressed 26 mm and 24 mm, respectively. The fracture morphologies in L7 and R10 indicate this animal suffered a strong compressive force coincident with the long axis of the ribs. All three rib pathologies and the pathological left phalanx I-1 are consistent with injuries sustained in a fall. However, it is clear from the healing exhibited by these fractures that this individual survived the fall. In addition to traumatic fractures, left dorsal rib 10 and possibly left phalanx I-1 have a morphology consistent with post-traumatic infection in the form of osteomyelitis. The CT scans of left metacarpal IV revealed the presence of an abscess within the medullary cavity consistent with a subacute form of hematogenous osteomyelitis termed a Brodie abscess. This is only the second reported Brodie abscess in non-avian dinosaurs and the first documented occurrence in herbivorous dinosaurs. The presence of a Brodie abscess, known only in mammalian pathological literature, suggest mammalian descriptors for bone infection may be applicable to non-avian dinosaurs.
The following license files are associated with this item: