Tuberculosis in the Triassic

Very few infectious diseases leave their traces on your bones. This is a problem for palaeontologists because only bones tend to get fossilised, and soft tissues are vanishing rare in the geological record. Even when these are preserved they're extremely unlikely to reveal signs of any infection the animal might have suffered. Therefore very few... Continue Reading →

An Ancient Case of Paget’s Disease

A new study has identified a potential case of Paget’s disease in the bones of a 298 million year old lizard-like animal. The results come from a study of two fused tail vertebrae recovered from a fossilised cave system in Richards Spur, Oklahoma, USA. Today Paget’s disease is a relatively rare condition, which mainly effects... Continue Reading →

A Tale of Two Parasites

Parasites are fascinating. We might tend to think of them as cunning free-loaders, slowly sucking the life out of their unsuspecting victims but the truth is often far more nuanced and bizarre. Modern parasites can permanently alter minds, castrate their victims to make them more useful, even replace their host's tongues, all just to get... Continue Reading →

Mass Conflict in the Neolithic

The subject of conflict between early human settlements is naturally controversial. We know from historical experience that no human culture has been immune from violence, either as perpetrators or victims, so it seems more then plausible that our ancestors were no different. However, actual physical evidence of conflict is rarely preserved. Earlier this month (August... Continue Reading →

Exploding Ichthyosaurs?

Sometimes truth can be grosser then fiction. Take the fossil record of the Posidonienschiefer Formation of Germany for example. Its best known for its beautiful preservation of many early Jurassic aged vertebrates, particularly a large number of Ichthyosaurs. The particularly striking thing about some of the formation's Ichthyosaurs though is that many are apparently females,... Continue Reading →

Lice: Dedicated Followers of Fashion

Not all palaeopathology is about death, believe it or not, and sometimes researching the diseases of the past can actually tell you a lot about how people lived. Sometimes this insight can take a surprising form and one excellent example of this is the origin of clothing. Clothing is a quintessential human technology. Palaeontologists speculate... Continue Reading →

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