Monday, October 23, 2006

 

Researchers Discover Evidence Of Gut Parasites In Dinosaur

Leonardo Dinosaur Montana Kodak Brachylophosaurus canadensis (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)University of Colorado at Boulder researchers have discovered what appears to be the first evidence of parasites in the gut contents of a dinosaur, indicating even the giants that roamed Earth 75 million years ago were beset by stomach worms.

The evidence was found in an exceptionally well preserved duck-billed dinosaur dug from the rocks of the Judith River Formation near Malta, Montana. Assistant Professor Karen Chin of CU-Boulder's geological sciences department and former graduate student Justin Tweet identified more than 200 suspected parasite burrows in 17 samples of gut material from the dinosaur that most likely were made by tiny worms similar to annelids and nematodes that infest animals today, she said.

"Fossil evidence for interactions between dinosaurs and invertebrates usually involves insects," said Chin, also a curator of paleontology for the University of Colorado Museum and an internationally known expert in trace fossils. "This research is exciting because it provides evidence for the movement of tiny, soft-bodied organisms inside the gut cavity of a dinosaur."

The findings are being presented at the 118th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America held Oct. 22 to Oct. 25 in Philadelphia.

The dinosaur, a brachylophosaur dubbed "Leonardo," was excavated in 2000 and 2001 by a team led by Nate Murphy, curator of paleontology at the Phillips County Museum in Malta.

Continued at "Researchers Discover Evidence Of Gut Parasites In Dinosaur"
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More info and links: "Kodak technology pictures dinosaur: The Leonardo Project"

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