Dinosaurs have proven to be a time-tested infatuation for people ranging from age eight to 88, whether they are curious children in school or veterans of historical study. Big Mike, a nearly complete T.Rex skeleton, was transported from Montana to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. just last month. The skeleton arrived at the museum on April 15, 2014, a place Big Mike will be able to call home until 2064. But one of the latest findings pertaining to dinosaurs is the fact that they had incredible properties of self-healing bones, allowing them to withstand strong attacks during battles as well as push through the pain afterwards.
Prior to more recent technology, researchers used to have to break apart or slice a fossil in order to reveal deeper information that could not be observed by the naked eye or even microscope technology. Now, with computer-aided abilities such as synchrotron-based imaging, scientists can examine aspects of fossils and artifacts that they were never able to before.
Synchrotron-based imaging allows researchers to illuminate objects of study with light that is brighter than 10 billion suns. A synchrotron is a type of cyclical particle accelerator that is synchronized to a particle beam, of which operators can increase the kinetic energy. In short, this technology can be combined with medical imaging and other apparatus to produce results that would have been virtually impossible to uncover otherwise. This technology also provides scientists with 3-D visual representations of studied materials for later reference.
The fact that scientists have been able to discover that dinosaurs had incredible self-healing properties within their bones has led to uncovering similar patterns in humans. Unlike how skin injuries form scar tissue when healing, bone injuries end up healing by restructuring the composition of the bone, just like when a skeleton was growing for the first time. Dr. Phil Manning, one of the primary authors of the Manchester School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences’ paper on the study, also noted that synchrotron-based imaging allowed them to identify chemical differences between unaffected dinosaur bones and ones that had healed.
The team also discovered that the degree to which their 150-million-year-old dinosaur subject had been injured revealed a severity of affliction that humans would not have recovered from, if left unassisted. The researchers used a bone from an Allosaurus, a meat-eating, predatory dinosaur.
Dr. Manning also commented that the results of the study could provide ways for the chemical happenings from the Jurassic era to enable new medical implementations and solutions in the 21st century. With no shortage of warfare and conflict throughout the modern world, there are certainly apt opportunities to apply fresh scientific knowledge with the latest innovations in the medical and technological fields. New applications may find their way into being able to help organizations such as Doctors Without Borders administer aid to victims of disease outbreaks and violent political tension. No matter what the next combination of fields will be, the discovery that dinosaurs had incredible self-healing properties in their bones is sure to aid future research.
By Brad Johnson