Science Articles

A 300 MILLION-YEAR-OLD REPTILE HAD SCOLIOSIS

There have been numerous instances found where skeletal deformities have been formed in the animal kingdom. Skeletal deformities include an abnormal number of toes, malformed limbs etc. It indicates that earlier even animals suffered from such type of abnormalities.

There have been numerous instances found where skeletal deformities have been formed in the animal kingdom. Skeletal deformities include an abnormal number of toes, malformed limbs etc. It indicates that earlier even animals suffered from such type of abnormalities.

 

In a marine reptile named Stereosternum tumidium, the researchers have uncovered a structural deformity that could have led to scoliosis. The reptile is a marine one and was 80 centimetres long. The fossil is approximately 300 million years old and was found in Brazil.

The deformity indicates that the 18th vertebra had not developed completely which led to curving the spine of the animal. That condition led to reducing or limiting the flexibility of the marine animal. On researching about the complete size of the skeleton fossil, the researchers came to the conclusion that Stereosternum tumidium had been an adult before facing death. This goes on to prove that the condition of scoliosis hadn’t done anything to limit the ability of the marine reptile in hunting for food. The scientists don’t know much but think that the reptile might have used its tail for movement.

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

Scoliosis is a neurological and muscular condition that looks like a bone problem but occurs due to other factors. This leads to a change in the curvature of the spine or a three-dimensional change in the alignment of the spine. This condition occurs in 10-14 years of age in a human child. The curvature of the spine changes to 15 degrees or 50 degrees.

 

It can even tilt the pelvis and the condition is progressive in nature. This happens because the brain can’t understand or make sense of the messages given by body part that is required for movement. This requires medical diagnosis and the treatment can help the situation but cannot be cured. The severe condition can be painful and a surgery might be needed for treatment.

WHAT IS STEREOSTERNUM TUMIDIUM?

These are extinct species of marine reptiles. These were originally from Brazil and from South Africa’s Great Karoo Basin. The average height of the reptile was considered to be 2.6 ft in length. They could live underwater and propel themselves to fight against the buoyancy, by the help of pachyostotic characteristic.

 

In 1886, the fossil of this marine reptile was discovered by Edward Drinker Cope. The reptile shares various characteristics with Mesosaurus. They are said to feed on crustaceans. They are considered to be either oviparous or viviparous in the same species only.

 

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