STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 August 2015

Stone Hearts

Image from Fisher, et al. (2000)
South Dakota in 1993. A fossil that would come to be known as Willo is unearthed. Seven years later, in 2000, Willo was scanned with computer tomography and the internal structures of the fossil were viewed in highly detailed images. These images revealed what appeared to be a four chambered heart preserved in the thoracic area of Willo. Very soon after the paper announcing the heart was published other papers were published stating that the heart was in fact actually nothing more than a fossilized concretion present in the chest. The resemblance to a heart is stunning, if seen from the correct angles and, therefore, makes the misconception quite understandable.

Fisher, P. E., Russell, D. A., Stoskopf, M. K., Barrick, R. E., Hammer, M., & Kuzmitz, A. A. (2000). Cardiovascular evidence for an intermediate or higher metabolic rate in an ornithischian dinosaur. Science, 288(5465), 503-505.

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