2 May : Palaeontologists have extracted the "first dinosaur blood" from its bone, a finding they claim could resolve doubts about a previous report that also claimed to have extracted dino tissue from fossils.
A team at North Carolina State University extracted a mix of proteins and microstructures, resembling cells from a plant-eating hadrosaur’s bone, which has been buried for 80 million years, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.
Proteins such as collagen are far more durable than DNA, but they had not been expected to last the 65 million years since the dinosaurs died out.
So, the team attracted attention when they reported finding first soft tissue and collagen from Tyrannosaurus rex leg bone that was intact until it’s broken during excavation.
They then took a look at the pristine leg bone that had been encased in sandstone for 80 million years.The palaeontologists exhaustively tested the sample, sequencing the proteins they found with a new and better mass spectrometer and sending samples to two other laboratories for verification.
Now, they have reported recovering not just collagen — which conveys little evolutionary information because it is the same in almost all animals, but also haemoglobin, elastin and laminin, as well as cell-like structures resembling blood and bone cells.
According to the palaeontologists, the proteins should reveal more about dinosaur evolution as they vary much more between species.The findings are published in the ‘Science’ journal.