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Dinosaur Fossil Found With Preserved Soft Tissue 248

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the begun-the-clone-wars-have dept.
damn_registrars writes "A fossilized hadrosaur has been uncovered in South Dakota that has preserved soft tissue. This is described as a "mummified" dinosaur, and allows for a look at the skin and musculature of some parts of this animal. The find was reported by a 24 year old Yale graduate student of paleontology."
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Dinosaur Fossil Found With Preserved Soft Tissue

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  • by tomatensaft (661701) <tomatensaft@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:01PM (#21561117)
    Hey, I've got a business idea. What would you think if we would breed those mammoths as livestock and sell their meat (Delicious Mammoth Jerky?) and, of course, ivory! And sure enough, many zoos around the globe would want to buy one for their exhibits. That would probably save the elephants from extinction...
  • Re:No clone wars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpe (36238) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:12PM (#21561277)
    There's no DNA; the fossilization process was fast enough to fossilize soft tissue. It's not organic material.

    It is a very useful find however. Since it enables techniques such as working out muscles from their attachment points to the bones to be refined. As well as examination of such tissues can show how these extinct animals are related to ones which exist now.
  • Re:Jurassic Park? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PieSquared (867490) <isosceles2006 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:15PM (#21561311)
    Some facts for you:

    1.) When cloning a sheep to give birth to itself, by putting a complete strand of its own DNA in its own egg cells in its own womb, we would have a one in several hundred chance of success. We don't know why, but the rest would be miscarriages, still births, or otherwise non-viable. The cloned animal would die early of old age, nobody knows why.

    2.) The Human Genome Project to sequence *ONE* complete set of DNA for a single human took us 13 years and 3 billion dollars. That's comparable to the Apollo project, to sequence *ONE* example of a complex being's DNA.

    3.) DNA is relatively unstable. I doesn't survive completely intact for 65 million years no matter how you preserve it.

    Mosquitoes trapped in amber wouldn't be great sources of DNA - it would have still decomposed over time. Not in the "something ate it" sense of the word, but in the "radioactive particles" sense of the word. So the DNA would be there, but fragmented. Analyzing one strand of complete, non-fragmented strand of DNA was an Epic undertaking. Doing it with hundreds of strands that were chopped into pieces is probably beyond our capabilities. We could also get this DNA from red blood cells found in a T-rex fossil recently, or just from grinding up the core of bones for *really* tiny bits.

    Next, you can't just patch DNA in a dinosaur with DNA from a reptile. It just doesn't work that way, and birds are closer relatives anyway if it *did* work that way.

    And then you'd have to somehow put together a DNA molecule. We can't do that yet. I'm totally serious, we can't. We can manipulate pieces maybe 10 or so genes long in existing DNA, but I don't think we could piece billions of genes long strands together from a blueprint even given all the time in the world.

    Finally, you'd need a viable dinosaur egg. You can't just pick someone else's egg and stick dino DNA in it, eggs are highly specialized. You might get away with something as similar as elephant-mammoth but there just isn't anything *like* a dinosaur, nothing *near* close enough for a viable egg.

    If by some miracle you managed to find full dino DNA, sequence the DNA, assemble the DNA, and put them in an artificial egg that worked... you'd have to do a thousand trials before you could say with any certainty you'd messed something up to make it fail instead of just having bad luck. So don't worry about Jurassic Park happening anytime soon.
  • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by osu-neko (2604) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:50PM (#21563359)

    According to the FTA, the find was originally located in 1999, and partially excavated in 2004 with a full investigation commencing in 2006. Having never studied archeology or paleontology, is it common for sites like this to be passed by even though there is something located there?

    I don't think it's a matter of being "passed by" as much as this is how long it takes with all available resources being devoted to it. This is the United States we're talking about -- basic science doesn't get funded unless there's a corporation that sees a potential for profit in it. :p

  • Re:No clone wars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:59PM (#21565579) Journal
    Cherry picking for the exceedingly small number of scientists who might (if their words aren't being taken out of context, of course) not accept evolution is a laughable, and ultimately self-defeating exercise, because, of course, the overwhelming majority of scientists do accept evolution. If it's just a competition of lists, then evolution so thoroughly defeats the evolutionary pseudo-skeptics that one would think quoting them would be an embarassment. But not to worry, evolution deniers are so far down the path of intellectual depravity that they no longer recognize humiliation.

    As to Sir Isaac Newton, quoting scientists who lived long before evolutionary theory even existed is pretty silly. I mean, are you going to use Newton in arguments against Quantum Mechanics or string theory? Oh, and nothing in that quote actually falsifies evolution. Evolution has nothing to say on God, and it's conceivable that God used evolutonary forces to shape life, though that, of course, is not science, but theology.

    So grow up. Evolution is a fact.
  • Re:No clone wars (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2007 @07:02PM (#21566159)

    You know whats funny, the space scientists (from a show I saw yesterday on discovery) say the whole universe is only 12 billion years old. So is science so jacked up that they have THAT much of a difference?
    I'm not sure I understand the joke. Assuming the universe is 12 billion years old, and this fossil is 65 million years old, that means that the universe was 11.935 billion years old when this fossil was created. What's "jacked up" about that?

    Is 11.935 billion a funny number?

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