Two years after the preserved proteins of a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex were published by NCSU paleontologist, Mary Schweitzer, and her team, they’ve come back to describe the discovery of some 80-million-year-old femur bone proteins belonging to the duckbilled hadrosaur, Brachylophosaurus canadensis. The specimen’s deep burial within a block of sandstone gave it optimal protection, so even though it was twelve million years older than the Tyrannosaurus rex femur, they were still able to find double the amino acids in the hadrosaur protein sequence.
By using these protein sequences to reconstruct ancient evolutonary trees, Schweitzer’s team have become the pioneers of a new area in palaeontology known as palaeomicrobiology. Comparing the dinosaur proteins with living bird and reptile samples, they were able to demonstrate the close relationship between dinosaurs and modern birds, their sequences far more similar to those of chickens and ostriches than they were to those of modern alligators and lizards.
Also worth a mention because it’s, you know, a SEA CREATURE: a fossil of the oldest preserved seahorse has been uncovered in Slovenia by researcher, Jure Žalohar, when he was washing his hands in a stream after a jog. The 13-million-year-old specimen reveals the only known extinct species of seahorse, known as the Hippocampus sarmaticus.
Now I don’t want to be all, “Seahorse, this is a competition, and you lose,” because I really do enjoy seahorses, especially the pygmy ones, but it kind of is a competition and Seahorse, you kind of did lose. I mean, shit, all hadrosaur had to do was hand over one lousy femur bone to produce a better news story than you. What, my advice, Seahorse? Well gosh, I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess for one thing, you should probably stop harping on about your decision to stand up 25 million years ago, because the dinosaurs already had that idea eons before you. Yes, Seahorse, eons.
Maybe you should just stick to what you’re good at. Don’t try and beat the dinosaurs at the fossil/being upright game, because trust me, you won’t win. Perhaps just concentrate on being dainty and and making those trumpeting sounds with your snout. Remember, Seahorse, the dinosaurs might be way more news worthy, but no one can comb a mermaid’s hair quite like you.