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Willo the Heartless Dinosaur

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 30,747 Galvasean

    Willo the Thescelosaurus, the dinosaur famous for having a well preserved fossilized heart has been recieving a undeserved reputation.As it turns out, the 'heart' was not a heart at all.
    After reexamining the fossil by way of high-resolution CT scans, X-rays and close-up study of the purported soft tissues, the team could not find any good evidence of Willo’s heart being preserved. Instead, the organ is really a concretion formed when sand was washed inside the body and became cemented into place.

    But there was one surprise inside the concretion. Although Willo’s heart was not preserved, Cleland and co-authors found several small scraps of “cell-like material.” These may have come from plant debris washed into the skeleton, or they might have come from the dinosaur itself. Perhaps, the scientists hypothesize, the decaying body of the dinosaur triggered the beginning of concretion formation and some of the sand formed around the rotting tissues before they had a chance to fully decay. Frustratingly, there is not yet a way to detect the origin of these scraps, but new technologies may eventually provide means to do so.

    Read more here.