Presenter Information

Savannah VazFollow

Major

biology

Faculty Mentor

al mead

Keywords

osteopathology, spectacled bear, osteomyelitis

Abstract

Osseous tissue contains the preserved record of an organism’s diseases and injuries that can be uncovered by examination of the present skeletal abnormalities. This study provides a thorough inspection of osteopathology and its etiology in a modern ursid with a known medical history. The skeletal remains of a captive-born spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) were analysed for gross pathologies that manifested during the life of the animal. All observed osteopathologies were correlated with diseases experienced in the life of the individual, most of which were age-related. However, pythiosis, the grounds for his euthanization, may have contributed to some of the pathologies resembling osteomyelitis. Comparison with other members of the order Carnivora, when available, were made to link the detected abnormalities with likely disease-causing agents. Of those observed, age-related degeneration, severe arthritis, advanced dental disease, and the possibility of osteomyelitis are described. Arthritic damages spoke for his age through partial fusion of some of the lumbar vertebrae, osteophyte growth in synovial joints, and calcification of ligaments. The osteopathologies of complete or partial mammal skeletons offer valuable information about the life and death of organisms when little or no soft tissue is available for examination. The analysis of abnormalities in comparable species contributes to the future research and interpretation of pathologies including those with paleontological origin.

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Analysis of the Osteopathology in a Captive-born Spectacled Bear

Osseous tissue contains the preserved record of an organism’s diseases and injuries that can be uncovered by examination of the present skeletal abnormalities. This study provides a thorough inspection of osteopathology and its etiology in a modern ursid with a known medical history. The skeletal remains of a captive-born spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) were analysed for gross pathologies that manifested during the life of the animal. All observed osteopathologies were correlated with diseases experienced in the life of the individual, most of which were age-related. However, pythiosis, the grounds for his euthanization, may have contributed to some of the pathologies resembling osteomyelitis. Comparison with other members of the order Carnivora, when available, were made to link the detected abnormalities with likely disease-causing agents. Of those observed, age-related degeneration, severe arthritis, advanced dental disease, and the possibility of osteomyelitis are described. Arthritic damages spoke for his age through partial fusion of some of the lumbar vertebrae, osteophyte growth in synovial joints, and calcification of ligaments. The osteopathologies of complete or partial mammal skeletons offer valuable information about the life and death of organisms when little or no soft tissue is available for examination. The analysis of abnormalities in comparable species contributes to the future research and interpretation of pathologies including those with paleontological origin.

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