PATAGONIA, Ar. – When archaeologists reviewed the results of a bone scan performed on the skeletal remains of a newly discovered species of dinosaur known as the Patagotitan, they believed they were looking at evidence of tumors in the fossilized bones of six young adult dinosaurs. The scans, which were conducted using a device known as a scintillation camera, revealed the presence of several dozen fist-sized objects lodged in the vertebrae, ribs, and shoulder blades of all six creatures.
“Initially we thought we were looking at a form of metastatic cancer,” said Dr. Joel Villarroel, a visiting fellow at the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology. While little is known about dinosaur diseases, recent studies show the Hadrosaurs, a “duck-billed” species from the Triassic period, were prone to cancer. “We wanted to know if Patagotitan were also susceptible to malignant tumors,” explained Dr. Villarroel. However, further analysis conducted at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History revealed the embedded objects were not tumors at all.
“In fact, what we’ve found are fragments of a type of metal known as trequiotite,” Dr. Nicholas Riviera, the Smithsonian Institute’s chief metallurgist, told the Journal of Archaeological Science. Discovered in 2013 by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, trequiotite is native to the Red Planet and possesses a density more than thirty times higher than osmium, Earth’s heaviest metal. “Scant traces of sulfur recovered from both the Patagotitan bones and the trequiotite fragments suggest these objects may have been a type of projectile,” Dr. Riviera said.
While extremely unusual, experts say the discovery of the so-called Martian “projectiles” is consistent with other prehistoric artifacts unearthed in South America throughout the 1970s. “There are nine grave sites in the Patagonia region alone where you have an abundance of fossilized remains showing signs of perimortem trauma,” Dr. Villarroel explained, continuing, “At seven of those sites, remnants of what appear to be an unknown type of firearm were found buried or perhaps discarded a short distance away from the fossilized remains.”
The discovery of Martian metal fragments embedded in the fossilized remains of over half a dozen dinosaurs has left many in the scientific community questioning how the prehistoric creatures came to be extinct. “The fact is we may never know what life was like three hundred and sixty-five million years ago,” said Dr. Nicholas Riviera. “What was happening in our solar system? Were Martians engaged in a sort of interplanetary war with these creatures we’ve come to know as dinosaurs? Were they killed off, not by a meteor, but by a highly advanced nuclear weapon? That’s why breakthroughs such as this are so essential to understanding our place in the universe.”