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Biotech Science

Hadrosaur Proteins Sequenced 81

jd writes "In a follow-up study to the one on proteins found in a T. Rex bone, the team responsible for the T. Rex study sequenced proteins found in an 80-million year old Hadrosaur fossil. According to the article, the proteins found confirm the results of the T. Rex study, proving that what was found in T. Rex was not a result of modern contamination, as had been claimed by skeptics, but was indeed the genuine thing: real dinosaur protein. Furthermore, despite the new fossil being 12 million years older, they claim they got more out — eight collagen peptides and 149 amino acids from four different samples. This, they say, places the Hadrosaur in the same family as T. Rex and Ostriches, but that not enough was recovered to say just how close or distant the relationship was."
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Hadrosaur Proteins Sequenced

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:52AM (#27845775)

    Actually ostrich tastes and looks like beef.

    One of the best steaks I have had was medium rare ostrich.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:11AM (#27846079) Journal
    Could you elaborate?

    Bitter archeologist/ex-archeologist? Science cynic? Earth couldn't possibly be more than 6,000 years old? Lab tech coerced by grant-hungry archeologists?
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:50AM (#27846663)

    Oh ho ho.

    What they left out of the article was *why* the skepticism. Here it is.

    These tissue types can only last hundreds of thousands of years, tops. So ... either it's fake, or there's some unknown preservation process at work here, or -

    These specimens are not millions of years old.

    That would square with the many puzzling astronomical discoveries which indicate "too young" objects (such as active planets and young comets), but cause havoc with the popular concept of how old the solar system is.

    Heh heh. I love it!

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:56PM (#27850359) Homepage Journal

    These tissue types can only last hundreds of thousands of years, tops. So ... either it's fake, or there's some unknown preservation process at work here, or -

    Yeah, this is why there's so little known of the actual tissues of critters that old. But it's really an example of the "long tail" statistical phenomenon. Proteins, DNA, etc usually disappear pretty quickly, but there's no sharp cutoff age at which all samples instantly disintegrate into their constituent atoms. The decay is an exponential process, and no matter what age you pick, there's a small nonzero probability that there are fossils that old, until you get back to an age when there were no "tissues" on Earth. A very few fossils have been found that contain proteins that date to tens of millions of years. The story a couple of years ago about such a T. Rex fossil was an example that got lots of attention, mostly because it's such a popular dinosaur. But there aren't many people studying such fossils, because we haven't found very many of them.

    The T. Rex tissues survived because they were inside intact bones buried in a place that has been dry for some 70 million years. The overlying material was never heavy enough to crack the bones, and the internal humidity never got high enough for any embedded bacterial spores to come to life. This is highly unlikely, but in a few places it has happened. Nobody knows whether we'll find more, though. It's possible that we've found the only such fossils that exist on the planet. Or there may be more buried in Montana, where both of these fossils were found. That area has been dry for a rather long time.

    People are also considering the possibility of finding some very old frozen fossils under the Antarctic ice. But if they exist, they're in places that are sorta hard to get at. And the researchers want to be extra careful, because they expect that there will also be living spores (and maybe seeds) there, too. They don't want anyone doing the digging until they can be certain that the samples won't be contaminated by surface bacteria. But the digging (or more likely drilling) will probably be tried within the next decade or two.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor