Dinosaurs got colds too


Dolly the Dinosaur shows evidence of a respiratory infection: aka a “cold”. And a chronic cold. She died at age 15, about half way through her lifespan. I suspect a little guesswork there. Do old dinosaurs turn grey?

There are dinosaur bone changes in Dolly from chronic infection. The scientist posted photographs on the internet and other bone experts said, that is infection. That is evidence of respiratory infection. “A lot of the times when any disease or trauma is found in a dinosaur skeleton, it’s often in limb bones where you expect it to happen,” Dr Poropat said. “Seeing it where the air sacs penetrate the vertebrae in a sauropod is quite unusual.” Also, she didn’t die of volcanic ash: “Inhalation of volcanic ash can cause a disease similar to mesothelioma.” Who knew? I haven’t kept up on my dinosaur medicine. The pattern of lesions also didn’t fit with lung cancer. Instead, Dr Woodruff and his colleagues think bacterial or fungal infections such as chlamydiosis and aspergillosis are prime suspects. These respiratory infections are common in birds today. “We don’t know for sure if the infection was bad enough to ultimately do Dolly in.”

Dolly, with her long neck, had neck arthritis from a chronic cold. She thought it was allergies.

Coronoviruses are colds. We are have a pandemic of a really really nasty killer cold and a cold that is doing long term damage in way too many people. That seems hugely ironic to me. I thought it would be influenza. After flu nearly killed me in 2003 I read about it and have enormous respect for it. And influenza is endemic and is always circling the world, in the colder regions.

My ideas about allergies and asthma are changing. We define asthma by whether people respond to albuterol. I do not respond to albuterol so I do not have asthma. However, I respond to other adrenaline like molecules: coffee caffeine and terbutaline. So do I have an asthma like illness? My allergy testing in 2014 was resoundingly negative. I tested for celiac in 2020, because I just did not feel well. Negative. I have not retested yet, but even if that antibody testing is negative, it was gluten that flared up diverticulitis in me. The thing is, there could be other antibodies. Loads of them. We all make different ones.

I am thinking about tubulin. Tubulin powers our muscles and cilia and flagella. It is mitochondrial. We inherit mitochondria from the mother only: it is in the egg but not the sperm. Mitochondria is matrolineal. My son and daughter both have my mitochondria. I have a photograph of my maternal grandmother’s mother. Her expression is amazingly like my daughter’s expression when she is thinking. My daughter has my poor spelling skills, my attitude towards work, and her father’s muscular endurance. During college, her father’s goal was five sports a day. In high school my daughter said that she “just didn’t feel good” when the pool was closed. She was used to swimming 3-5 miles a day and lifting weights. Her father can get on a bicycle and ride at the speed of talking all day. He also has pioneered “jog golfing” in his area. When the golf course is empty in the winter, he plays golf and jogs from one hole to the next with his bag. Yes, he is nuts, I agree. I am jealous of that endurance.

The inheritance of antibodies would be from both parents, because they are made by the white blood cells. Do parents and children make the same antibodies or are they entirely different? I do not know that. I took an immunology course when I worked at NIH in the 1980s. I also had some immunology in medical school, but not nearly to the level that I am interested in now. I think I am hunting for a really good immunology course. And maybe more information about dinosaur medicine.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: thread. This post follows the thread of my thoughts this morning