Archive for May 1st, 2008

Proteins (collagen) in the bones of a 68 million-year-old dinosaur prove that the Tyrannasaurus rex are directly related to birds.  This was the first time that soft tissue (necessary for genetic mapping) could be extracted from fossils.  In fact, the study shows that the T Rex is actually closer related to chickens and birds than alligators and other lizards. 

This is an Image of the New Dating Process which Uses Genetic Analysis

Researchers’ genetic analysis of the ancient preserved proteins in bones can be used to fill in all sorts of gaps in the evolutionary tree.  It does however, also prove that just comparing mechanical and physical animal structures is also a valid way of discerning animal lineages.  The researchers also reiterated the connection between ancient, extinct Mastadons and modern elephants by analyzing the DNA from Mastadon hair.

Scientists also have more accurately pinpointed the extinction of the dinosaurs thanks to this new molecular comparison.   Their improved process put the end of the Cretaceous (the last period of dinosaur dominance) around 65.95 million years ago (give or take 40,000 years).  Earlier estimates put that date at around 65.5 million years ago.  The older study had a 300,000-year margin for error.


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