T-rex Treasure

Posted on April 14, 2007  Comments (2)

T. rex remains yield new treasure

Already, the breakthrough has yielded a payoff. Schweitzer and the Harvard scientists found molecular similarities between the Tyrannosaurus rex and modern chickens. They say the finding strengthens a growing case that birds are living relatives of dinosaurs. More tests are needed to see whether the bits of dinosaur proteins match those in other living creatures — including alligators and crocodiles, which, by outward appearances, seem closely related to the ancient species. Molecular maps of proteins in those reptiles are not yet available.

The very existence of the molecular relics had been unimaginable. Until now, scientists thought such soft stuff survived no more than a million years in animal remains. Usually, tissue degrades and bone gets replaced by mineral, yielding fossils molded precisely like the originals. Although the fossils enable scientists to piece together a skeletal sketch of ancient life forms, they tell only so much.

The discovery of the protein fragments, detailed in the journal Science today, suggests that new molecular clues may be buried in other well-preserved fossils around the world. And those clues could help explain the biology of dinosaurs and other extinct animals. The newly discovered microscopic fragments are not DNA — the inherited code stored in billions of cells that defines every living creature. As a result, no one should expect any Jurassic Park-like replicas of dinosaurs to result from Schweitzer’s finding.

Related: Over 100 Dinosaur Eggs DiscoveredMost Dinosaurs Remain UndiscoveredFossils of Sea Monster

2 Responses to “T-rex Treasure”

  1. CuriousCat: Nigerasaurus
    November 19th, 2007 @ 8:58 am

    The Nigersaurus was discover in what is now the Sahara Desert in Niger. When the Nigersaurus was roaming the area, 110 million years ago, the climate was a Mesozoic forest…

  2. CuriousCat: Dinosaur Remains Found with Intact Skin and Tissue
    December 3rd, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    “this hadrosaur came complete with fossilised skin, ligaments, tendons and possibly some internal organs…”

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