Fossil Science
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to FossilScience.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Microbes evolve faster than ocean can disperse themMicrobes evolve faster than ocean can disperse them

Compound protects brain cells after traumatic brain injuryCompound protects brain cells after traumatic brain injury

Mice and men share a diabetes geneMice and men share a diabetes gene

Slimy fish and the origins of brain developmentSlimy fish and the origins of brain development

Penn team studies nanocrystals by passing them through tiny poresPenn team studies nanocrystals by passing them through tiny pores

Arctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphereArctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Can tapioca replace corn as the main source for starch sweeteners?Can tapioca replace corn as the main source for starch sweeteners?

Antifreeze proteins in Antarctic fish prevent both freezing and meltingAntifreeze proteins in Antarctic fish prevent both freezing and melting

Sandia magnetized fusion technique produces significant resultsSandia magnetized fusion technique produces significant results

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMAViolent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

What set the Earth's plates in motion?What set the Earth's plates in motion?

Two-dimensional electron liquidsTwo-dimensional electron liquids

Sharks in acidic waters avoid smell of foodSharks in acidic waters avoid smell of food

American-made wind turbine bladesAmerican-made wind turbine blades

Nature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologiesNature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologies

When rulers can't understand the ruledWhen rulers can't understand the ruled

Hey1 and Hey2 ensure inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right placeHey1 and Hey2 ensure inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right place

Is a gluten-free diet enough to control the complications of celiac disease?Is a gluten-free diet enough to control the complications of celiac disease?

X-ray imaging paves way for novel solar cell productionX-ray imaging paves way for novel solar cell production

Childhood mentors have positive impact on career successChildhood mentors have positive impact on career success

Blood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapyBlood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapy

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Bombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big DataBombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big Data

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Proteins, soft tissue from 80-million-year-old dino support theory that molecules preserve over time (5/3/2009)

Tags:
dinosaurs, hadrosaurs, north america

A North Carolina State University paleontologist has more evidence that soft tissues and original proteins can be preserved over time - even in fossilized remains - in the form of new protein sequence data from an 80 million-year-old hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur.

Dr. Mary Schweitzer, associate professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State with a joint appointment at the N.C. Museum of Natural History, along with colleague Dr. John Asara from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Chris Organ from Harvard University, and a team of researchers from Montana State University, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Matrix Science Ltd. analyzed the hadrosaur samples.

The researchers' findings appear in the May 1 edition of Science.

Schweitzer and Asara had previously used multiple methods to analyze soft tissue recovered from a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex. Mass spectrometry conducted on extracts of T. rex bone supported their theory that the materials were original proteins from the dinosaur.

These papers were controversial, and the team wanted to demonstrate that molecular preservation of this sort in dinosaurs was not an isolated event. Based upon other studies, they made predictions of the type of environment most likely to favor this preservation, so Schweitzer and students, working with Jack Horner's Museum of the Rockies field crews, went looking for a dinosaur preserved under a lot of sandstone. Using specially designed field methodology, with the aim of avoiding environmental exposure until the fossil was inside the lab, they set aside the femur from a Brachylophosaurus canadensis - a hadrosaurid dinosaur-buried deeply in sandstone in the Judith River formation.

"This particular sample was chosen for study because it met our criteria for burial conditions of rapid burial in deep sandstones," Schweitzer says. "We know the moment the fossil is removed from chemical equilibrium, any organic remains immediately become susceptible to degradation. The more quickly we can get it from the ground to a test tube, the better chance we have of recovering original tissues and molecules."

Preliminary results seemed to confirm their methodology, as Schweitzer found evidence of the same fibrous matrix, transparent, flexible vessels and preserved microstructures she had seen in the T. rex sample in the much older hadrosaur bone. Because of the rapidity of analyses after the bones were removed, the preservation of these dinosaurian components was even better. The samples were examined microscopically via both transmitted light and electron microscopes to confirm that they were consistent in appearance with collagen. They were also tested against antibodies that are known to react with collagen and other proteins.

Next, Schweitzer sent the samples to Asara's lab to be analyzed by a new mass spectrometer, capable of producing sequences with much greater resolution than the one used previously. Mass spectrometry identifies molecules by measuring the mass of the protein fragments, or peptides, that result from breaking apart molecules with specific enzymes. The masses are measured with very high mass accuracy, and then compared with existing databases of proteins to achieve a best fit. In this way, Asara was able to identify eight collagen peptides from the hadrosaur, then confirm the identity of the sequences by comparing them both to synthesized fragments and to modern proteins analyzed under the same conditions. Once sequence data were validated, they were evaluated by Organ who determined that, like T.rex, this dinosaur's protein family tree is closer to that of modern birds than that of alligators.

All results were independently verified by researchers at BIDMC, Montana State University, Harvard University, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Matrix Science of London.

The data were consistent with that of the earlier T. rex analysis, confirming that molecular preservation in fossilized remains is not an isolated event. "We used improved methodology with better instrumentation, did more experiments and had the results verified by other independent labs," Schweitzer says. "These data not only build upon what we got from the T. rex, they take the research even further."

Schweitzer hopes that this finding will lead to more work by other scientists on these ancient molecules.

"I'm hoping in the future we can use this work as a jumping off point to look for other proteins that are more species-specific than collagen. It will give us much clearer insight into all sorts of evolutionary questions."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the North Carolina State University

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Capturing ancient Maya sites from both a rat's and a 'bat's eye view'

If hippopotamuses can't swim, how can some be living on islands?If hippopotamuses can't swim, how can some be living on islands?

'Jaws' lived in Doncaster'Jaws' lived in Doncaster

How an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking headHow an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking head

The creation of the Vuoksi River preceded a significant cultural shiftThe creation of the Vuoksi River preceded a significant cultural shift

Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus

Study ties groundwater to human evolution

Researchers discover 3 extinct squirrel-like speciesResearchers discover 3 extinct squirrel-like species

Ancient swamp creature had lips like Mick Jagger

New digital map reveals stunning hidden archaeology of Stonehenge

New species of extinct dolphin sheds light on river dolphin historyNew species of extinct dolphin sheds light on river dolphin history

Testing the fossil recordTesting the fossil record

Paleontologists discover new species of titanosaurian dinosaur in Tanzania

Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history

Enigmatic Viking fortress discovered in DenmarkEnigmatic Viking fortress discovered in Denmark



Archives
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.