Dinosaur Blood Cells Have Been Recovered From Fossils

06.10.15 3 years ago 5 Comments
jurassic-park

Universal Pictures

We literally now have four movies that explain why this is a terrible idea, science.

We told you about resurrection biology earlier, the fringe division of science that is trying to revive extinct species like the woolly mammoth and the Pyrenean ibex. The actual Alan Grant, Dr. Jack Horner, thinks ancient avian genes deactivated in evolved modern birds can be reactivated to make Velociraptors. It was thought that DNA couldn’t be preserved in any form for longer than 6.8 million years, but new evidence found in 75 million-year-old bones may change that.

Researchers Sergio Bertazzo and Susie Maidment used an electron microscope to scan eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones from North America. They found both intact red blood cells, and collagen preserved in the bones. While they still haven’t found intact DNA in the cells they’ve recovered, Maidment says to never say never on an actual Jurassic Park:

“Increasingly, studies like ours are showing that original components can be preserved over geological timescales. So perhaps one day DNA fragments might be found in an exceptionally preserved dinosaur fossil.”

Despite not immediately needing Chris Pratt* to alpha-male wrangle some baby dinos, this discovery will help research in other ways. Red blood cell size correlates to metabolic rate, which will help scientists figure out whether dinosaurs are exothermic like other reptiles, or endothermic like mammals. The true physiology of dinosaurs could be uncovered simply by re-examining the fossils we already have laying around in prehistoric exhibits.

All that trouble mining amber with mosquitoes in it, and John Hammond could have just raided the nearest natural-history museum.

*We will always need Chris Pratt. Let’s be real.

(Via Discover Magazine)

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