Navigation Links
Next good dinosaur news likely to come from small packages

Dinosaurs seem bigger than life ?big bones, big mysteries. So it's a delicious irony that the next big answers about dinosaurs may come from small ?very small ?remains.

"Molecules are fossils, too," said Michigan State University zoologist Peggy Ostrom. "We've shown that proteins survive in very old fossils, and proteins can tell us about diseases, about where prehistoric animals fit in the food chain, what they ate and who they are related to."

Ostrom joins six other scientists engaged in various versions of CSI: Jurassic Park. The symposium, "New Approaches to Paleontological Investigation," at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting Friday explores cutting edge technology used to divine new information from ancient bits of bone and tissue.

One of the field's hottest topics is whether proteins and DNA survive the test of time. Ostrom is putting her bet on proteins and is working with an international team from Michigan, the Smithsonian and York and Cardiff Universities in the UK to track down these building blocks of bone.

Ostrom works in a budding area known as paleoproteomics. Like conventional paleontologists, the search is to reveal the history of life on Earth. But tacking on proteomics means scrutinizing life at a molecular level ?life that existed thousands of years ago.

Ostrom's work has spanned from examining organic matter in meteorites to reconstructing who eats who in the food web from the tropics to the arctic. The trail is laid by stubbornly durable molecules. She uses mass spectrometry, an analytical technique that determines what molecules are present.

Molecules may be tiny, but they can be tough, Ostrom said. The plant that a mastodon munched some 10,000 years ago disperses through the animal's body, sprinkling molecules of itself through tissue and hair -- vivid scientific evidence of the adage "you are what you eat."

"It just takes two or three pinches o f bone powder to find molecular evidence," Ostrom said. "We have protein sequences from material believed to be in range of half a million years old. We are carefully working our way back in time."

She said it appears some proteins can endure longer than DNA. In a recent study Ostrom's students found that a protein in bone in an environment void of oxygen (say, if it's been resting in a swamp) can last for 200 hours at temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius.

"If we have a protein sequence from bone, we can tell if the material is an original part of the organism that will provide interesting information about its past. We can know where it came from." Ostrom said. "Our goal is to use a variety of technologies new to paleontology to develop a deeper understanding of prehistoric life -- and everyone dreams of embellishing our understanding of dinosaurs."


'"/>

Source:Michigan State University


Related biology news :

1. Revueltosaurus skeleton unearthed at Petrified Forest upsets dinosaur tale
2. Study: Predatory dinosaurs had bird-like pulmonary system
3. Skull study sheds light on dinosaur diversity
4. U. of Colorado researcher identifies tracks of swimming dinosaur in Wyoming
5. Newly discovered birdlike dinosaur is oldest raptor ever found in South America
6. Did feathered dinosaurs exist?
7. Fossil find: Godzilla crocodile had head of a dinosaur, fins like a fish
8. The worlds deepest dinosaur finding - 2256 metres below the seabed
9. FSU biologist says new dinosaur is oldest cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex
10. Insect predation sheds light on food web recovery after the dinosaur extinction
11. Large dinosaurs were extremely hot in their day, UF study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/28/2016)... LONDON , Nov. 28, 2016 ... at a rate of 16.79%" The biometric system ... to grow further in the near future. The biometric ... 32.73 billion in 2022, at a CAGR of 16.79% ... biometrics system, integration of biometric technology in smartphones, rising ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... According to the new market research report "Biometric System Market by Authentication ... (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact and Non-contact), Application, and Region - Global ... from USD 10.74 Billion in 2015 to reach USD 32.73 Billion by ... Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/21/2016)... 21, 2016   Neurotechnology , a provider ... today announced that the MegaMatcher On Card fingerprint ... for the NIST Minutiae Interoperability Exchange (MINEX) ... mandatory steps of the evaluation protocol. ... test of fingerprint templates used to establish compliance ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... the business of innovation is taking over sports. On Thursday, December 15th a ... how technology is disrupting the playing field at a Smart Talk session. Smart ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... SAN DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... treatments for congestive heart failure and type 2 ... license for a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector ... Kay , M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. The ... of its paracrine gene therapy product pipeline. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the FOMD-ACV-A4, ... The FOMD-ACV-A4 is a small, thin, SODIMM-style module that fits a standard 204-pin ...
(Date:12/8/2016)...  Anaconda BioMed S.L., a pre-clinical stage medical device ... neuro-thrombectomy system for the treatment of Acute Ischemic Stroke ... to join its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB ... scientific and clinical experts to Anaconda BioMed S.L., as ... ® to its clinical phase. The SAB is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: