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.

Job Openings with theTurtleRoom

TheTurtleRoom is looking for several individuals passionate about turtle conservation to join our volunteer staff team in a variety of specific roles! Two of these openings relate directly to this World Turtle News blog feature. We also have several other opportunities available for a variety of talents. Please check out this page for more details on each position, the requirements, and responsibilities. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

Question or Concerns? Want to submit an article to get posted? Email us at [email protected].

Photo from Rainer Schoch/Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart.


WTN Editor

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top