The Hadrosaur’s Broken Neural Spine: How Did It Heal?

This is an interesting item about research that will be appearing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. A team lead by William Straight looked at how a fracture of the neural spine (part of the vertebra) healed in a hadrosaur.

The team used CT scanning to guide sampling of the healing fracture:

The detailed sampling made possible by CT imaging allowed scientists led by William Straight of Northern Virginia Community College to examine bone mineral deposited in the repair (the callus). This callus preserves a temperature record of the healing process, a record that can be measured with stable isotopic techniques. The results demonstrated that skeletal repair in at least some dinosaurs shows a combination of reptilian and non-reptilian characteristics. Despite hadrosaurs not being among those dinosaurs most closely related to birds, “healing and remodeling rates in our dinosaur bones are similar to those seen in birds,” says Straight.

Here is a picture:

Cross-section (greatly enlarged) of callus in the process of being repaired (the lattice-like structure dominating the image). The open loops are precursors to the osteons that ultimately turn the repaired area into mature bone tissue. (Source <a href="http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/553132/#imagetop">Here</a>)

Cross-section (greatly enlarged) of callus in the process of being repaired (the lattice-like structure dominating the image). The open loops are precursors to the osteons that ultimately turn the repaired area into mature bone tissue. (Source Here)

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