Scientists Extract 195 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tissue - One Step Closer To Cloning
Researchers from the University of Toronto Mississauga in Canada believe that they might have recovered preserved soft tissue in the remains of a dinosaur which has been dead for at least 195 million years.
If their preliminary conclusions are proven to be correct then it would suggest that protein strands are capable of survival for more than 100 million years than was previously supposed by scientists. This could have enormous implications for the study of extinct animals.
The research team uncovered the supposed soft tissue sample in the fossilized remain of a Lufengosaurus, a common leaf-eating creature from the early Jurassic period. The team believes that they have found traces of collagen, a structural protein commonly found in the skin and connective tissue inside one of the rib bones.
They also believe that they may have found what appears to be remnants of blood. Robert Reisz, one of the paleontologists on the team, said that the soft tissue fragments were uncovered using a technique known as infrared spectroscopy. This allowed the scientists to view the inside of the dinosaur bones via wavelengths created by the absorption of infrared light. They concluded that the structure of the material seemed to correspond with that of protein. They also claimed that there was an iron-rich mineral present at high quantities in the bone. It would make sense if this were a small fragment of preserved blood. The findings of the team from the University of Toronto Mississauga are only preliminary at this stage. However, they follow hot on the heels of another independent study which isolated collagen proteins in the remains of an 80 million-year-old dinosaur. The proteins that this team analyzed were found to be fairly similar to those of birds. This could open up pathways for scientists in the field of extinct creatures to begin filling in vast evolutionary trees for long extinct animals in a more precise way than they are currently able to.