STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers have identified a 255-million-year-old beast has a tumor. The fossil presented evidence that the jaw of the animal contained a benign tumor. A team of scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle has revealed the existence of this tumor which dates back hundreds of millions of years and it is known as odontomas or “toothlet” tumor.
The team of scientists has found this fossilized odontoma tumor in the jaw of a gorgonopsian. This creature is known to be the precursor of mammals dating back 255 million years ago. This fossil was found back in 2007 in Tanzania. Previous data showed that a tumor of this kind was unveiled in creatures which lived less than a million years back.
Based on the data shared by the researchers’ team, gorgonopsian was a distant relative of mammals, being categorized as the top predators which ever existed in the pre-dinosaur Permian era. The size of these creatures varied from two to ten feet long. Due to their large canines, they were called the “saber tooths of the Permian.”
The group of specialists from Seattle had identified the tumor when they were analyzing the animal’s jaw. The tumor contains tiny “toothlets,” enamel and dentin, which are tooth tissues. This type of tumor appears within the gums or similar soft tissues of the jaw, causing swelling and pain. What is more, it could also dislocate other tissues or even teeth.
Benign odontomas do not spread affecting the whole body. Nevertheless, they are recommended to be removed due to the problems they cause. Christian Sidor, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, argued that this discovery appears to be the oldest instance of a benign odontoma which was ever discovered. This finding reveals that this tumor is of an ancient type.
Sidor claimed that discovery proves that the record of the fossil can offer so many data about the present-day cases, including the pathologies and illnesses which are included in the mammalian heritage. Apparently, the tumor encountered in gorgonopsian does not represent the oldest form of cancer ever recorded. According to previous researchers, a clear evidence of a tumor was first discovered in the fossil of a fish which lived approximately 300 million years ago.
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