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一种罕见的、隐藏在古代恐龙尾巴中的人类疾病,至今仍困扰着我们

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2020年02月13日

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A Rare Human Disease Found Hidden in an Ancient Dinosaur Tail Still Plagues Us Today

一种罕见的、隐藏在古代恐龙尾巴中的人类疾病,至今仍困扰着我们

It lived in a place we now call Alberta, Canada, but this was in an ancient time, long before any names existed.

北京赛车官网它生活在一个我们现在称为加拿大亚伯达的地方,但那是在一个古老的时代,在任何名字出现之前很久。

北京赛车官网It was a young hadrosaur, a giant 'duck-billed' herbivore, and something was wrong with it. We don't know what killed this dinosaur, but at some point, it swished its long, heavy tail for the last time, lay down on the prairie, and died.

北京赛车官网这是一只年轻的鸭嘴龙,一种巨大的“鸭嘴兽”食草动物,它有点不对劲。我们不知道是什么杀死了这只恐龙,但在某个时刻,它最后一次摆动它又长又重的尾巴,躺在草原上死了。

北京赛车官网Today – at least 66 million years later – all that is known to remain of this magnificent creature are 11 fossilised bone segments from that ancient tail, and scientists have discovered something pretty incredible embedded inside them.

今天,至少6600万年过去了,我们所知道的这一伟大生物的遗迹只有11块来自古代尾巴的骨头碎片,科学家们在这些化石中发现了一些令人难以置信的东西。

北京赛车官网Of the 11 pieces of tail vertebrae recovered, eight segments exhibited various pathological conditions, with some featuring "unusual lesions" never before seen in dinosaurs.

北京赛车官网在恢复的11块尾椎中,有8块表现出不同的病理状态,其中一些具有恐龙从未见过的“异常病变”。

Now, many millions of years after the hadrosaur's death, the nature of its strange affliction has finally been diagnosed.

北京赛车官网如今,在鸭嘴龙死亡数百万年后,这种奇怪的折磨终于被诊断出来。

一种罕见的、隐藏在古代恐龙尾巴中的人类疾病,至今仍困扰着我们

北京赛车官网There were large cavities in two of the vertebrae segments, explains evolutionary anatomist Hila May from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

来自以色列特拉维夫大学的进化解剖学家Hila May解释说:“在两块椎骨中有两个大的空腔。”

北京赛车官网They were extremely similar to the cavities produced by tumours associated with the rare disease Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) that still exists today in humans.

“它们与罕见的朗格汉斯细胞组织细胞增生症(LCH)相关的肿瘤产生的空洞极为相似,这种疾病至今仍在人类中存在。”

In a new study, an international team used micro-CT scanning to investigate these mysterious cavities in extremely fine detail.

在一项新的研究中,一个国际研究小组使用微ct扫描技术对这些神秘的空洞进行了极其细致的研究。

The analysis confirmed the researchers' suspicions, indicating that this rare form of cancer has existed on Earth for at least 66 million years, when the Late Cretaceous epoch ended.

分析证实了研究人员的猜测,表明这种罕见的癌症在地球上至少存在了6600万年,也就是白垩纪末期。

北京赛车官网We scanned the dinosaur vertebrae and created a computerised 3D reconstruction of the tumour and the blood vessels that fed it, May says.

北京赛车官网梅说:“我们扫描了恐龙的椎骨,然后用计算机对肿瘤和滋养它的血管进行了三维重建。”

The micro and macro analyses confirmed that it was, in fact, LCH. This is the first time this disease has been identified in a dinosaur.

“微观和宏观分析证实,它实际上是LCH。这是首次在恐龙身上发现这种疾病。”

As the researchers explain in their study, this isn't the first time LCH has been determined in other kinds of animals, with previous research suggesting similar pathology in tree shrews and tigers.

北京赛车官网正如研究人员在他们的研究中解释的那样,这不是第一次在其他动物身上发现LCH,之前的研究表明树鼩和老虎也有类似的病理现象。

But we've never seen it in the fossil record before – nor had the means of identifying it like this.

但我们以前从未在化石记录中见过它——也没有像这样识别它的方法。

北京赛车官网Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a rare kind of cancer where excess immune system cells build up, forming tumours called granulomas. The disease usually affects young children, and while the vast majority of patients who experience LCH recover, the condition causes pain and swelling.

北京赛车官网朗格汉斯细胞组织细胞增多症是一种罕见的癌症,在这种癌症中,过多的免疫系统细胞积聚起来,形成被称为肉芽肿的肿瘤。这种疾病通常发生在儿童身上,当绝大多数LCH患者康复后,会引起疼痛和肿胀。

The exact causes of LCH remain a matter of debate, but with every new piece of evidence we find, we learn more the pathogenesis of this rare, and seemingly very ancient disease.

北京赛车官网LCH的确切病因仍是一个有争议的问题,但随着我们发现的每一项新证据,我们对这种罕见的、似乎非常古老的疾病的发病机制有了更多的了解。

北京赛车官网Even knowing a long-gone dinosaur was afflicted by it over 60 million years ago could be important for finding a treatment, researchers say.

北京赛车官网研究人员表示,即使知道6000万年前一种早已灭绝的恐龙曾受到这种疾病的折磨,对找到治疗方法也很重要。

Ultimately, the goal of such studies is to understand the real cause of these illnesses and what evolutionary mechanisms allowed them to develop and survive, palaeopathologist Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University, who assisted in the study, told Haaretz.

来自特拉维夫大学的古病理学家Israel Hershkovitz协助了这项研究,他告诉《国土报》:“最终,这类研究的目的是了解这些疾病的真正原因,以及是什么进化机制使它们得以发展和存活。”

北京赛车官网Perhaps if we understand a disease's underlying mechanisms we can treat its causes more effectively, instead of focusing on the symptoms, as modern medicine tends to do.

“也许,如果我们了解了一种疾病的潜在机制,我们就能更有效地治疗其病因,而不是像现代医学那样关注症状。”

北京赛车官网The findings are reported in Scientific Reports.

研究结果发表在《科学报告》上。


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