Scientists have revealed that only humans and other mammals have inter-vertebral discs, but Tyrannosaurus rex had it. Their study suggests that Tyrannosaurus could have sustained a slipped disc.
In mammals, the discs connect the vertebrae, providing the spine its mobility.
The findings of the research conducted by a team under the leadership of the University of Bonn have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The researchers said that the discovery may prove helpful in medical understanding of humans.
“The human body is not perfect, and its diseases reflect our long evolutionary history,” said paleontologist Prof. Dr Martin Sander from the University of Bonn.
During the study, the researchers observed that the vertebrae of most dinosaurs and ancient marine reptiles looked similar to humans.
On the other hand, present day snakes and other reptiles have their vertebrae connected with so-called ball-and-socket joints, meaning they do not have inter-vertebral discs.
The scientists believe that evolution is good for reptiles as it prevents them from slip discs.
“I found it hard to believe that ancient reptiles did not have inter-vertebral discs,” said paleontologist Dr Tanja Wintrich from the Section Paleontology in the Institute of Geosciences of the University of Bonn.
The researchers during the course of research studied a total of 19 different dinosaurs, other extinct reptiles, and animals still alive today.
The study divulges that intervertebral discs evolved several times during evolution in different animals. It also suggests that the discs were probably replaced by ball-and-socket joints twice in reptiles.
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