Cool news, strengthening the Dinosaurs-Bird link
Tiny bits of protein extracted from a 68-million-year-old dinosaur bone have given scientists the first genetic proof that the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex is a distant cousin to the modern chicken.
The study is reported in Science 13 April 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5822, p. 169
Soft tissues have been thought to be rarely if ever preserved in the fossil record, aside from some samples entombed in amber or for a few million years in ice. Recently, a femur of a Tyrannosaurus rex dating to about 67 million years ago was recovered that seemed to preserve internal soft tissues, including blood vessels within its bone. Schweitzer et al. (p. 277) and Asara et al. (p. 280) have further analyzed these tissues, as well as samples from a mastodon, and show that original collagen proteins were preserved. Mass spectrometry was used to recover at least some of the original collagen sequence. Thus, aspects of genetic information can be obtained from select samples of extinct species preserved for tens of millions of years.
The two papers are
Mary Higby Schweitzer, Zhiyong Suo,Recep Avci, John M. Asara, Mark A. Allen, Fernando Teran Arce, John R. Horner Analyses of Soft Tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex Suggest the Presence of Protein Science 13 April 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5822, pp. 277 - 280
J. M. Asara, M. H. Schweitzer, L. M. Freimark, M. Phillips, and L. C. Cantley Protein Sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus Rex Revealed by Mass Spectrometry. Science 316, 280-285 , (2007)
Now that’s real science for you. And to no-one’s surprise, science shows once again how new data supports evolution.