World Turtle News, 02/08/2019
Bone cancer suggested in 240 million year old Pappochelys rosinae fossil, possible earliest evidence of cancer in amniotic history
It may seem strange to find cancer interesting, but a recent study by JAMA Oncology suggests that at least one form of it has existed since the Triassic period. That’s as old as the dinosaurs, and the reason it’s interesting is that it allows scientists to study the changes of the disease over a long period of time in order to discover potential patterns of its development that may help humans cope with it today.
Osteosarcoma is a cancer found in bones, usually forming during the growth stages of the skeleton. The growing bone will begin forming in directions not intended, forming what are essentially spurs but may be malignant. Modern doctors most often see it occur in children and young adults.
The 240 million year old Pappochelys rosinae fossil in this study appears to have a tumor on its left femur that matches the modern understanding of osteosarcoma. In addition to helping scientists better understand this disease, if true it’s also the oldest example of cancer in all known amniote species.
That’s right: dinosaurs might have gotten cancer, and we may be able to study it in order to help the human race today.
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Turtle News From Around the World
South Africa: Pemba the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys ovlicaea) has traveled over 12k kilometers since release
Indonesia: Asiatic softshell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) received by Gembira Loka Zoo, estimated at 50 years old
Crime & Punishment
USA: bizarre case of two turtles in Miami, FL, chained together and carrying a bag of voodoo dolls
USA: rescued in 2013, Snaplet the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) thriving at New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
STUDY: Effects of incubation temperature on hatchling performance and phenotype in loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta
STUDY: genera Geoemyda and Pangshura show no differentiated sex chromosomes
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