Significant changes in rhino bone health over 50 million years
|Examples of each pathology category and the 1-4 rating system are given |
along with a short description [Credit: Stilson et al.]
The authors found the incidence of osteopathology increased from 28% to 65-80% as new species evolved. The only living species in this study, the black rhino, displayed 50% fewer osteopathologies than the more derived extinct taxa. The researchers also found that with increasing body mass, indicators of disease in the bones also significantly increased. The authors suggest these results may reflect a part of the complex system of adaptations in rhinos over millions of years, where increased mass, running, and/or increased life span are selected for, to the detriment of long-term bone health. The authors say this work has important implications for the future health of hoofed animals and possibly even humans.
Source: PLOS [February 03, 2016]