A group of researchers at North Carolina State University have extracted a mix of proteins and structures that they believe once constituted a dinosaur’s blood.
More than four years ago, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer published a report in which she claimed to have found soft tissue in the broken, fossilized leg bone of a Tyrannosaurus.
Met with a series of harumphs and cries for further proof from her colleagues, Schweitzer and her team inspected the similarly preserved leg of an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur, hoping to find at least the same sort of collagen they discovered in the T-rex leg.
Instead, and much to their pleasant surprise, the team discovered proteins including “haemoglobin, elastin and laminin” — all of which offer a much more intricate view of an animal’s physical characteristics and genomic structure than simple collagen.
Before Schweitzer’s research it was widely believed that these organic structures simply couldn’t survive the rigors of fossilization.
The researchers hope their discovery will offer new insight into the evolution of our prehistoric forebears. Hopefully that offers some comfort when your family is being eaten by a pack of cloned velociraptors.