A study lasting 50 years reveals how moose suffer from an identical form of human arthritis, thus confirming the belief of scientists that it is a universal issue.
The research, published in Ecology Letters
, also casts new light on how malnutrition early in life can lead to the disorder in both moose and humans.
The study, which began in 1958, was carried out on Isle Royale, a wilderness island National Park in lake superior, with only one large predator, the wolf and one large prey species, the moose. The research has involved three generations of scientists who have studied the skeletal remains of over 4000 moose, mostly killed by wolves or harsh winters.
"As the study entered its second decade there was increasing evidence of Osteoarthritis (OA) in the moose population," said lead author Rolf Peterson from Michigan Technological University. "OA is a crippling disease and is identical to that found in humans. It is commonly believed to be caused by 'wear and tear,' but the complex causes have remained poorly understood."