Paleontologists Find Collagen Traces On 80-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil

A team of paleontologists previously found traces of collagen from an 80-million-year-old dinosaur fossil. While signs of existence of dinosaurs were already erased long time ago, these collagen peptides extracted from a Brachylophosaurus specimen confirm the theory collagen can be detected even after millions of years. A recent study on a duck-billed dinosaur revealed evidences for this.

A group of paleontologists from the North Carolina State University have isolated collagen peptides from a Brachylophosaurus specimen using meticulous testing methods. Their work supports the earlier idea that organic molecules can hold on to specimens millions of years longer than initially believed. The study also has implications for the ability of paleontologists to study fossil records on the molecular level.

Dr. Elena Schroeter, a researcher and professor from the NCSU, along with Dr. Mary Schweitzer, a biological sciences professor, were appointed to lead the research at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It can be recalled that in 2009, the first sign of collagen was discovered and findings of such research were first published in the journal of Proteome Research. According to ScienceDaily, the researchers collected the research samples from the Femur or the thigh bone of Brachylophosaurus.

As reported by ZME Science, the researchers kept the exposed dinosaur fossil bone in a clean, sterile environment to get more accurate results. The mass spectrometer which is a device for analyzing fossil specimens in molecular level was also decontaminated. The team then reportedly recovered eight sequences of peptides taken from the collagen through an advanced imaging technology of the mass spectrometer.

Two among the eight collected sequences were identical to those sequences found in the specimen from 2009, while the other six sequences were totally new. Looking further into the evidences, Schweitzer and her team came to a conclusion that the collagen I taken from the dinosaur fossil was the same as the crocodilians and birds’.

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