News of the WeekPaleontology

‘Protein’ in 80-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bolsters Controversial T. rex Claim

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Science  01 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5927, pp. 578
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_578

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A controversial finding that protein fragments can be recovered from dinosaur fossils has been replicated for the first time. Two years ago, a team of paleontologists stunned the community when they reported discovering intact protein fragments in a fossil from a Tyrannosaurus rex that died 68 million years ago. The claim has remained contentious, because proteins in tissue normally degrade quickly after an animal dies. On page 626 of this week's issue of Science, however, the team reports finding an even larger number of protein fragments from an 80-million-year-old fossil from a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, known as Brachylophosaurus canadensis.