This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Gunk in T. Rex Fossil Confirms Dino-Bird Lineage

Thanks to Rob Singleton and Brian Burgess for the links.

Reposted from:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080424/sc_livescience/gunkintrexfossilconfirmsdinobirdlineage

Tyrannosaurus rex just got a firm grip on the animal kingdom's family tree, right next to chickens and ostriches. New analyses of soft tissue from a T.rex leg bone re-confirm that birds are dinosaurs' closest living relatives.

"We determined that T. rex, in fact, grouped with birds - ostrich and chicken - better than any other organism that we studied," said researcher John Asara of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. "We also show that it groups better with birds than [with] modern reptiles, such as alligators and green anole lizards." Continue reading




Also see:
Today's Chickens Are Descended From Dinos

Harvard Scientists Say T-Rex Was A Close Cousin Of Barnyard Fowl

(AP) It looks like chickens deserve more respect.

Scientists are fleshing out the proof that today's broiler-fryer is descended from the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.

And, not a surprise, they confirmed a close relationship between mastodons and elephants.

Fossil studies have long suggested modern birds were descended from T. rex, based in similarities in their skeletons.

Now, bits of protein obtained from connective tissues in a T. rex fossil shows a relationship to birds including chickens and ostriches, according to a report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. Continue Reading

<!-- "These results match predictions made from skeletal anatomy, providing the first molecular evidence for the evolutionary relationships of a non-avian dinosaur," Chris Organ, a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Harvard University said in a statement. <br /><br />Co-author John M. Asara of Harvard reported last year that his team had been able to extract collagen from a T. rex and that it most closely resembled the collagen of chickens. <br /><br />They weren't able to recover dinosaur DNA, the genetic instructions for life, but DNA codes for the proteins they did study. <br /><br />While the researchers were able to obtain just a few proteins from T. rex, they have now been able to show the relationships with birds. <br /><br />With more data, Organ said, they would probably be able to place T. rex on the evolutionary tree between alligators and chickens and ostriches. <br /><br />"We also show that it groups better with birds than modern reptiles, such as alligators and green anole lizards," Asara added. <br /><br />The dinosaur protein was obtained a fossil found in 2003 by John Horner of the Museum of the Rockies in a barren fossil-rich stretch of land that spans Wyoming and Montana. Mary H. Schweitzer of North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences discovered soft-tissue preservation in the T. rex bone in 2005. <br /><br />The research of Organ and Asara indicates that the protein from the fossilized tissue is authentic, rather than contamination from a living species. <br /><br />The researchers also studied material recovered from a mastodon fossil and determined it was related to modern elephants. <br /><br />Their research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Paul F. Glenn Foundation and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. <br /><br />Meanwhile, in another paper in Science, researchers report refining a method to determine ancient dates that will allow them to better pinpoint events such as dinosaurs' extinction. <br /><br />A team led by Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and an adjunct professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, said they were able to refine the so-called argon-argon dating method to reduce uncertainty. The method compares the ratio or two types of the element argon found in rocks. <br /><br />The greater precision matters little for recent events in the last few million years, according to Renne, but it can be a major problem for events in the early solar system. For example, a one percent difference at 4.5 billion years is almost 50 million years. <br /><br />The new system reduces that potential uncertainty to one-fourth of one percent, the researchers said. -->

TAGGED: EVOLUTION, GENETICS, PALEONTOLOGY


RELATED CONTENT

Modern culture emerged in Africa 20,000...

Thomas H. Maugh II - LA Times Comments

Modern culture emerged in southern Africa at least 44,000 years ago, more than 20,000 years earlier than anthropologists had previously believed

Modern Humans Blamed for Neanderthal...

Michael Balter - Wired Science Comments

New studies on volcanic glass show that a volcanic eruption once thought to be blamed for the demise of Neanderthals occurred after they were already gone.

A Bone Here, a Bead There: On the Trail...

John Noble Wilford - New York Times Comments

Who are we, and where did we come from?

Early Human Ancestor, Australopithecus...

- - ScienceDaily Comments

This is the tooth of a hominid embedded in a rock containing significant parts of a skeleton of an early human ancestor. The skeleton is believed to be the remains of "Karabo", the type skeleton of Australopithecus sediba, discovered at the Malapa Site in the Cradle of Humankind in 2009. (Credit: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg)

Evolution, Humanism, and Conservation:...

Ryan Shaffer - The Humanist Comments

Interview with Richard Leakey, a world-renowned paleoanthropologist whose career has been marked by famous scientific finds, political office, and conservation efforts.

All dinosaurs may have had feathers

Meghan Rosen - Science News Comments

A newly discovered, nearly complete fossilized skeleton hints that all dinosaurs may have sported feathers.

MORE

MORE BY AP, CBS NEWS

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment