Parasites May Have Killed T-Rex
A new study finds Tyrannosaurus Rex may have become extinct due to the work of a small one-celled parasitic organism, which caused lacerations in the dinosaur's jaw bone.
The disease trichomoniasis gallinae causes lesions in the beaks of modern birds of prey, and Australian researchers have found about 15 percent of T-Rex skeletons have similar lacerations in their lower jaws. The researchers think the lacerations may have caused the dinosaur, which existed about 65 million years ago, to die of starvation.
Previous theories about the extinction of dinosaurs include asteroids, floods and climate change.
The researchers investigated the jaws of Sue and 60 other tyrannosaur specimens. Nearly 15 percent of them possessed lesions that had previously been attributed to bite wounds or, possibly, a bacterial infection. These holes were roughly 0.2 to more than 1 inch wide (0.5 to more than 2.5 cm), extending through roughly a half-inch (1 cm) of bone.