T. rex analysis supports dino-bird link

For the first time, researchers have read what they say is the biological signature of a tyrannosaur — a signature that confirms the increasingly accepted view that modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.

The signature doesn't come from studying the shape of the 68 million-year-old dinosaur's fossilized bones, but from analyzing the organic material found inside those bones. It's not DNA — despite what you've seen in movies like "Jurassic Park," that genetic material couldn't be recovered. But researchers say it's the next-best thing: collagen proteins that were isolated using techniques on the very edge of what's possible today.

Those techniques, detailed in Friday's issue of the journal Science, could open up "a new window into an entirely new approach" for paleontology, one expert told MSNBC.com. What's more, researchers say the methods are already being incorporated into improved tools for detecting present-day diseases.

Image: Jack Horner


Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: