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5 Crazypants Scientific Discoveries (just happening)


Dinosaurs had so much cancer

Although Spielberg tries to drill it into our brains every few years, it’s hard to fathom that dinosaurs actually existed. We like to imagine that they were real flesh and blood creatures instead of the mythical dragons that breathe tar. But it turns out that the average Joe today has a lot in common with the average Jaxartosaurus back then, who not only had to worry about the Big T but, like us, the Big C.

5 Crazypants Scientific Discoveries (Happening Now) - a modern model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex

RJ Palmer / Wikimedia Commons
With arms this short, there’s no way to check for lumps.

Without the ability to put dinosaurs under x-ray machines to look for fate marks, paleontologists until recently weren’t even sure they had cancer, which could slowly kill them. But a multidisciplinary team of paleontologists and oncologists searched hundreds of ancient fossils “in search of dinosaur cancer.” And I’m afraid I have bad news: you made it and for very first cancer diagnosis for a dinosaur – and only 77 million years late to start chemotherapy.

5 Crazypants Scientific Discoveries (just happening) - a Ceratops dinosaur skeleton

American Museum of Natural History
Technically, all dinosaurs now look like they’ve been x-rayed.

The crayfish patient in question was an unfortunate Ceratops (an ancestor of the Triceratops, named after the immortal old man Michael Cera). While the animal probably drowned with its entire family before the cancer could kill it (a mixed blessing), it suffered from an osteosarcoma so aggressive that this bone cancer had visibly warped its lower leg – that’s how the oncologist became aware of the researcher.

And to paraphrase the study’s lead author, where there is bone cancer, there is every type of cancer to bone you. That said, it might be time to reevaluate the dinosaur’s indomitable reputation. After all, another recent study suggests that people with obesity have a greater chance of developing cancer simply because Larger organs need more cells to mutate. Given that a titanosaur’s liver was the size of a Volkswagen hatchback, it might be time to think of these walking giants less as unbreakable giants and more as a mound of tumors with protruding horns.


Gardens are being overrun with superpower poison ivy

With half the world under voluntary house arrest, many of the starved people seek refuge in nature and spend more time in their gardens or local parks lying on the grass rather than on the floor of their bedroom like a depressed teenager.

5 Crazypants Scientific Discoveries (Happening Now) - a man lying in a field of flowers

Almost as good as touching another person – not that we remember what it feels like.

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