Scientists Discover Preserved Dinosaur Cells Containing Organic Molecules And Possibility Of DNA

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Scientists Discover Preserved Dinosaur Cells Containing Organic Molecules And Possibility Of DNA

Scientists have discovered highly preserved organic molecules from a dinosaur fossil in China. It is only the second time that such a thing has been found in archaeological history and is the oldest dated organic dinosaur cell material ever found.


This discovery means that DNA from the Caudipteryx dinosaur could be extracted and produce a knowledge of the prehistoric beasts that had never before existed.


The 125 million-year-old dinosaur was found near what would have been a prehistoric lake in Liaoning Province, China. The preservation of the animal seems to be of such a high quality as the animal was either killed by, or had its recently deceased body covered by, ash from a nearby volcano. The period 125-million-years ago was known as the Cretaceous period and was one of the periods most abundant with the great lizards.


Dr. Li Zhiheng of China's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) told reporters:


"Geological data has accumulated over the years and shown that fossil preservation in the Jehol Biota was exceptional due to fine volcanic ashes that entombed the carcasses and preserved them down to the cellular level."


Dr. Alida Bailleul, also of the IVPP, added:


"It is possible that these cells were already dying even before the animal died. Let's be honest. We are obviously interested in fossilized cell nuclei because this is where most of the DNA should be if DNA was preserved."


At present, the oldest DNA ever sequenced was dated at 1.2 million years, so to be able to DNA sequence anything dated at 125 million years is going to be much more of a challenge, but also much more of a prize.


The team leading the current project was also responsible for overseeing the examination of the previous oldest organic dinosaur cells ever found, a 75 million-year-old Hadrosaur found in Montana. Data from this project is still being examined.


If the DNA from a dinosaur was fully sequenced, it could lead to the possibility of the animal being 'reborn' in the present. It is this concept on which the hit movie Jurassic Park was famously premised upon. While the new finds are interesting, it seems unlikely that we will see any dinosaur rebirths in the next few decades.


[h/t: IFL Science]


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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Discover Preserved Dinosaur Cells Containing Organic Molecules And Possibility Of DNA
Scientists Discover Preserved Dinosaur Cells Containing Organic Molecules And Possibility Of DNA
Scientists have discovered highly preserved organic molecules from a dinosaur fossil in China. It is only the second time that such a thing has been f
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