Oldest Dinosaur Protein Found -- Blood Vessels, More

The fossilized leg of an 80-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur has yielded the oldest known proteins preserved in soft tissue—including blood vessels and other connective tissue as well as perhaps blood cell proteins—a new study says.

The research was led by the team behind the controversial 2007 discovery of protein from similar soft tissues in 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex bones.

"It was not a one-hit wonder," said John Asara of Harvard Medical School, who led the protein-sequence analysis.

Well-Preserved Dinosaur

The proteins were recovered from a hadrosaur femur that had been encased in sandstone, which appears to prevent complete tissue degradation, Asara said.

Preliminary microscopic analysis revealed structures resembling blood vessels, cells, and collagen, he noted.

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