Dinosaur DNA found preserved in 75 million year-old fossil
Scientists have discovered organic material preserved in 75-million-year-old dinosaur fossils, including cartilage cells, proteins, chromosomes, and DNA.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and North Carolina University in the US published a paper on National Science Review detailing the discovery.
The organic material was found within the skull fragment of a Hypacrosaurus, a type of duckbill dinosaur.
The research took a close look at two juvenile skull bones from the plant-eating dinosaur that lived in what is now called Montana about 75 million years ago.
Inside the tiny fossils, researchers observed cells, some of which appeared to have frozen in the process of cell division, reports National Geographic quoting the study.
They have also observed what appeared to be darkened balls similar to nuclei, the cellular structures that store DNA.
And one cell even seems to contain dark, tangled coils that resemble chromosomes, the condensed strands of proteins and DNA that form during cell division.
"These exciting new results add to growing evidence that cells and some of their biomolecules can persist in deep-time," says Alida Bailleul, one of the lead authors of the paper.
"They suggest DNA can preserve for tens of millions of years, and we hope that this study will encourage scientists working on ancient DNA to push current limits and to use new methodology in order to reveal all the unknown molecular secrets that ancient tissues have."
Sadly, there were no reports on whether the DNA can be used to recreate dinosaurs for a dangerously contrived theme park.