Friday, April 13, 2007
It seems incredible. Unfossilized soft tissue has no business surviving in any form in a fossilized dinosaur. But there it is: not blood cells with intact DNA (sorry, Michael Crichton fans) but collagen from deep within a T. rex femur. Two studies of the proteins making up the collagen report the material is definitely from the dinosaur, not modern contamination as some initially suspected. Moreover, its composition has important similarities to collagen in modern birds, lending the strongest support yet to the birds-to-dinos school of thought.