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SCI/TECH: Scientists Recover Soft Tissue from T. rex

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posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 10:59 PM
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Scientists have recovered soft tissue from a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex thighbone. The 70-million-year-old bone was broken when it was removed from a sandstone formation in Montana. Scientists removed the minerals from the fossil, leaving behind tissues that were soft and transparent and could be manipulated with instruments. The lead researcher likened the process to placing a chicken bone in vinegar. The minerals will dissolve, leaving the soft tissues behind.
There appears to be individual cells as well as long structures like blood vessels.
The vessels and contents are similar in all respects to blood vessels recovered from ostrich bone. Because evidence has accumulated in recent years that modern birds descended from dinosaurs, scientists chose to compare the dinosaur remains with those of an ostrich, the largest bird available. Scientists also proclaim that this is also a huge opportunity to learn more about how fossils are made, a process that is not fully understood.

 



story.news.yahoo.com
WASHINGTON - For more than a century, the study of dinosaurs has been limited to fossilized bones. Now, researchers have recovered 70-million-year-old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells, from a Tyrannosaurus rex.

If scientists can isolate proteins from the material, they may be able to learn new details of how dinosaurs lived, said lead researcher Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University.

It was recovered dinosaur DNA — the blueprint for life — that was featured in the fictional recreation of the ancient animals in the book and film "Jurassic Park."

The soft tissues were recovered from the thighbone of a T. rex, known as MOR 1125, that was found in a sandstone formation in Montana. The dinosaur was about 18 years old when it died.

Richard A. Hengst of Purdue University said the finding "opens the door for research into the protein structure of ancient organisms, if nothing else. While we think that nature is conservative in how things are built, this gives scientists an opportunity to observe this at the chemical and cellular level." Hengst was not part of the research team.

John R. Horner of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University, said the discovery is "a fantastic specimen," but probably is not unique. Other researchers might find similarly preserved soft tissues if they split open the bones in their collections, said Horner, a co-author of the paper.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


The first thing that many people will likely be thinking after reading this headline is “Jurassic Park” has become a reality. "We're doing a lot of stuff in the lab right now that looks promising," lead researcher Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University said in a telephone interview. But, she said, she does not know yet if scientists will be able to isolate dinosaur DNA from the materials. In “Jurassic Park,” dinosaur DNA was combined with modern amphibian DNA to create the inhabitants of the fictional park. It would be interesting to imagine the combining the ancient DNA of dinosaurs with the modern DNA of ostriches or other birds.



Related News Links:
www.kansascity.com
www.guardian.co.uk
www.latimes.com
www.timesonline.co.uk




posted on Mar, 24 2005 @ 11:37 PM
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.
very, very, very skeptical about this.

There are decaying microbes in almost unimaginable places around this planet,
the deep cold arctic, burried in solid rock for 100,000 years, at thermal vents in ocean.

You're telling me organic material from this bone lasted MILLIONS of years? [evaded all these microbes]

I never say anything is impossible, but this sounds so improbable, it defies my imagination.

Will wait to see if any substantial developments arise from this.
Or wait to see it shown to be a mistake or fraud.
.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 12:03 AM
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I saw this on a news channel... Apparently its true... I'm intrigued to see what the implications will be...



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 12:18 AM
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There is no need to be sceptical about this. Dr. Schweitzer is well respected and is not making this up. I suspect that she focuses on these sorts of things, because she is also the one who was able to recover some blood proteins (not blood) from a previous specimin.

Sometimes there are found proteins that are surprisingly intact in heavily mineralized bones. Its not unheard of and is probably going to be happening more and more as more people look for them. I recall seeing a poster on yet another such discovery, of bone proetins, at a SVP meeting some years back.

Infact, Dr. Schweitzer first presented this information at last years meeting in Denver. She had to go thru quite a process to actually get at the gooey tissues.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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This is big news! I dont see why everyone is voting this down. They have actual tissue from a dinosaur that has been preserved for millions of years. Imagine the potential for this if they can extract anything from it.


[edit on 25-3-2005 by Event Horizon]



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 12:25 AM
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Wow, why are people voting this down? Its pretty fantastic news. There's not much of a question that this is what she found, she's an established and proven honest scientist, who presented her findings at public meetings and I beleive submited it to a paper where it was reviewed and authorized. The story is entirely true, and eminently newsworthy. Don't drop the ball on this one just because its 'fantastic'.

Yeesh, some unscrupulous posters wanted to cover up that recent episode, and now some other ones are rejecting an entirely true story just because its strange. Ironic and Bizzare this all is.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 05:32 AM
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Very glad to see you responded on this, Nygdan. This is an extremely interesting find.

Getting away from the Jurassic park aspect of all this, I'd like to talk about the implications this will have on certain timelines and theories. For instance, immediately the scientists have stated that perhaps the fossilization process is not as they have thought it was.

That's nice, but the real interesting discussion is going to come from exactly HOW the fossilization process differs from what the scientific community had believed. I believe the difference is the timeline. I believe the dating of the extinction of the T-Rex et. al. is way off.

Would enjoy reading your thoughts on this facet of this find.

[edit on 3-25-2005 by Valhall]



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 08:07 AM
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It would be interesting to see if other museums around the world start cracking open their specimen bones to see if any soft tissue can be found. I agree with the idea that this could really change the way we viewed the fossilization period and the age of the T-Rex. Good stuff!!!



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 08:14 AM
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yes i recall and ehard it on the news the other day and heard that apparently there was a blood cell in the sissue but this is great

jurrasic park (now with real dinasours)



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 08:20 AM
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Am I the only one hearing the Jurassic Park theme song in my head right now?


Excellent find, and it might shed some light on some of the ongoing debates about the T-Rex and dinos in general (cold-blooded/warm-blooded, somewhere in between?, scavenger or hunter?, etc.) (My bet is on in-between and hunter)...



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 08:48 AM
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Hey I find the story fascinating and I will love to see how this finding is going to affect the dating on previous bones.

Also I don't mind to see scientist bringing one of these animals back to life.


Jurassic park doesn't sound so bad to me.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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jursassic park was exaggerating. dinos are like giant turkeys. an airplane, a gun or a tank > dino so no real threat imo



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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Originally posted by mpeake
It would be interesting to see if other museums around the world start cracking open their specimen bones to see if any soft tissue can be found. I agree with the idea that this could really change the way we viewed the fossilization period and the age of the T-Rex. Good stuff!!!


That is what I was wondering. Museums will NOT want to damage their specimens. I would think that cutting them in half is out of the question. I wonder if their will be a minimally invasive procedure to get inside, though.

I really don't know if not completely understanding the process of fossilization is grounds to recalculate fossil dates. How I understand it, amounts of radioactive material are measured and, according to the rate of their half-life or decay into another element, they are compared to known rates of decay to find their age. A ratio. If the fossil material has been formed a long time after a critter died, wouldn't that make the specimen older?



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 10:59 AM
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I think the problem some people have with this, as I do as well, is that it just sounds too good to be true.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 03:12 PM
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The dna may give researchers clues as to why the dinosaurs became extinct.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 03:18 PM
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Here are some links to the topic being discused on the Dinosaur Mailing List archive also, which might prove informative. THe DML is a email listserv that is made up of amateurs, students, and professional paleontologists that focuses on, well, dinosaurs. This is a good place to review for information about the paleotological applications and relevancy.

T-Rex soft tissue?
and
T. rex Blood Vessels

I think that there might also be discussion from several months ago when the discovery was first announced.


The USENET newsgroup talk.origins is a place where the evolution/creationism controversy is discussed. To be clear, the site is moderated via a computer program, and a man who who I beleive is generally in teh evolutionist camp runs the programs. However, the program and the moderator do not moderate on content. They moderate based on cross posting. There's actually a very intersting story behind the moderation if anyone is interseted, but that's beyond the pruview of this thread I think.

Anyway, it too is made up of intersted amateurs and professionals. Lets take a look at it on this subject.

In the News: T. Rex has 'soft tissues'

I'm sure that there will be more discussin there shortly.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 03:32 PM
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Now, lets consider soft tissue preservation and biomolecular preservation.

Like I've said, some scientists have been able to recover proteins from fossilized bones. Mary Schweizter is somewhat 'infamous' amoung the creationist community for having discovered blood proteins in dinosaur fossils a few years ago too. The intial reports that people were passing around were that she had found blood cells, which she infact did not.

Here is a talk.origins newsgroup discussion on the topic. Its useful because its specifically oriented at addressing creationist and other claims that biomolecules refute old age for fossils.

Now, I haven't read that FAQ in particular, but have read a little bit here and there on the dino-blood issue and have seen some reports on the preservation of proteins in fossils. Its exciting. And its reasonable, I think, to say, 'wah?'.

Now, just on the face of it, I'd have to think that, the existance of the biomolecules might be somethign that sits in the 'young age' column. The problem is, there is lots of other stuff that sits in the 'old age' column. So I don't see why the existence of the proteins, which can possibly sit in the young age column should be preffered over all other methods of determining age.

The talk origins website (which is related, but not administratively, to the newsgroup, and is explicitly written as a pro-science site) has two FAQ on the subject, the one presented above was made into a faq, and the same author wrote another one specific to the blood.

Osteocalcin in fossils FAQ
Dino-blood and the Young Earth

I'll be reviewing those, because its probably high time that I did. I'll be interested in hearing some of the arguments for why these molecules and tissues can't survive preserved in the fossil. I'm also going to set up another post over at ignorancedenied that can be used as reference material (i figure that Igden is a good place to set up the reference, and I will link to it here).


[edit on 25-3-2005 by Nygdan]



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 04:14 PM
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It's not that the material survived "soft" all this time. typically fossils are when the minerals replace the organic tissues, and leave the shape and structure. In this case, they found essentially "dehydrated" tissues with some of the original cells within the minerals holding it together. Then they dissolved the minerals away.

I wonder how the cellular structure held without physically being ruptured? Waay too delicate and patient a process for me to contemplate, like those guys restoring paintings like the Sistine Chapel ceiling.




Originally posted by slank
.
very, very, very skeptical about this.

There are decaying microbes in almost unimaginable places around this planet,
the deep cold arctic, burried in solid rock for 100,000 years, at thermal vents in ocean.

You're telling me organic material from this bone lasted MILLIONS of years? [evaded all these microbes]

I never say anything is impossible, but this sounds so improbable, it defies my imagination.

Will wait to see if any substantial developments arise from this.
Or wait to see it shown to be a mistake or fraud.
.



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 04:26 PM
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This is fantastic! Something people have thought about for years, but thought it only a dream! I doubt if most Museums would risk their bones to see if there may be others with soft tissue, but there could be a few willing.....imagine all we can learn!
Maybe someday, we will see a live dinosaur!



posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 06:21 PM
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*snort*
Scientists have told us for GENERATIONS that something that old WILL NOT have any "living tissue". Go look at the transitory models for how long it takes for things to get fossilized by their time scale.
Anyway, it means one of several things:
1. Either this is not T-Rex DNA, or the T-Rex in question is MUCH younger than the timescale given, period. The chances of rotting flesh being uncorruptible for that long more than borders on a miracle....and there's enough of those with the big bang. (reference to big bang being a miracle made by a prominant evolitionist in an article, not my words.)
2. You just posted something for Creationists to use in their never ending line of evidence against Evil-ootion. Wait until someone figures out a probability chart.



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