Keeping the faith

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Science  15 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6356, pp. 1088-1091
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6356.1088

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For the last 20 years, Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, has amassed a wealth of evidence that she's isolated protein fragments from dinosaurs as much as 80 million years old. That bucks the conventional wisdom among paleontologists who argue that proteins, which are made of chains of amino acids, can't survive more than 1 million years or so. So far, no group other than Schweitzer and her collaborators has managed to replicate the findings. She contends that's because others don't follow her methods. If Schweitzer is right and outside researchers eventually do confirm her findings, it could transform dinosaur paleontology into a molecular science. That, in turn, could help researchers answer long-standing questions, such as whether dinosaurs were warm- or cold-blooded, and work out the dinosaur family tree.