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To build the family tree, Asara and colleague Chris Organ compared the T. rex sequence with collagen from other animals. Those with similar collagen sequences were grouped closely together on the tree, while differences in the sequences suggested the animals had long diverged.
For the most part, the collagen tree captured relationships palaeontologists and evolutionary biologists had little reason to doubt, including T. rex's kinship to birds and the mastodon's ancestry to elephants.