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Was Tyrannosaurus Rex Nothing But a Big Chicken?

The collagen extracted from a 68-million-year-old T. rex femur (thigh bone) has been sequenced for the first time. The fragment sequences were compared to collagen of modern species, and found to match that of chickens, newts and frogs.

The real breakthrough, however, does not reside in the establishment of a relation between this ancient terrifying monster and our modern harmless egg-producers, but in the recovery of extremely old proteins. Most fossils do not normally contain such molecules, as they are degraded if the remnants are not buried deep enough. The search for more of this type of protein-containing fossils will expand in the hope to find more clues as to the relationship between dinosaurs and modern species.

Researchers recovered protein from inside a massive T. rex leg bone buried for 68 million years, and sequenced seven fragments that identify it as collagen, the most abundant protein in bone.

Source: New Scientist

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