First evidence of viruses in the fossil record: Paget disease found in a Jurassic dinosaur
In cooperation with the Charité University Hospital and the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, the palaeontologists Florian Witzmann and Oliver Hampe from the Museum of Natural History in Berlin made a spectacular discovery:
They found the so far oldest evidence of viruses in a 150 million year old vertebra of the dinosaur Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki. This herbivorous species from Tendaguru in Tanzania suffered from Paget disease of bone in life, a disease which is caused by measles-like viruses and which has been known so far only from humans and other primates. The scientists report this discovery in the current issue of the journal Current Biology.