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Today, we'll explore Jurassic Park for Real? (dino roar) Dave, remember that Michael Crichton book that came out in 1990?
Of course! Dinosaurs from 70 million years ago were brought back to life using DNA from fossils. In reality the idea at the time was flat out unbelievable. Scientists believed biomolecules from fossils could not survive that long.
All that changed with a recent report in the journal, Science, which rocked the scientific world. Researchers were able to isolate pieces of proteins from a fossilized bone of a 68 million year old Tyrannosaurus rex. It proved biomolecules can last millions of years.
What normally happens during fossilization is soft tissues like muscles decay while harder materials like bone become mineralized. However inside some of these bones, researchers found rubber like structures. These looked curiously like collagen - a protein in bone and other tissues.
The finding is really incredible. It means proteins don't completely decay and fossilized bone may conceal more biological information than we ever thought.
In intriguing experiments, scientists isolated some of this protein material and the results were astounding. Protein segments found in the T. rex collagen are related to the chicken!
Can you imagine ordering a bucket of T-Rex?
This work is strong evidence birds evolved from dinosaurs. It's exciting because a comparison of proteins allows insights into the evolutionary relationships between different animals.
The cloning of dinosaurs described in Jurassic Park no longer seems as fantastic.
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