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Scientific Psychic
2008-04-25

Tyrannosaurus rex is related to birds

Phylogenetic tree of Tyrannosaurus RexIn the late 1860s Thomas Huxley suggested that birds descended from dinosaurs. In 1911, Othenius Abel proposed that birds came first and that dinosaurs are descendants from birds. Skeletons of "transitional" bird forms found in the 1990s strengthened the argument that birds descended from dinosaurs. Recent discovery of well-preserved protein from a Tyrannosaurus rex bone has made it possible to analyze the fragments of collagen proteins and determine that Tyrannosaurus rex was definitely related to birds.[1] A chart presented by the scientists shows Tyrannosaurus and Gallus next to each other, which means that Tyrannosaurus and chickens are related.

There are skeptics who doubt that protein from dinosaurs would have remained unaltered for 65 million years, but the analysis of molecular data from long-extinct organisms may have the potential for resolving relationships in the vertebrate evolutionary tree that have been impossible to determine with current phylogenetic techniques.

Not too many years ago, Michael Crichton- wrote the science fiction story "Jurassic Park-", where extinct creatures were brought back to life by replicating DNA from fossils. Although Crichton's idea is far-fetched, the idea of cloning a woolly mammoth using DNA from a frozen specimen found in Siberia has received more serious consideration.

Learn about the Timeline of the Earth

[1] Molecular Phylogenetics of Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex, Chris L. Organ, Mary H. Schweitzer, Wenxia Zheng, Lisa M. Freimark, Lewis C. Cantley, and John M. Asara, Science 25 April 2008: 499




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