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:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... new market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market ... Latent Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... of 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 ... the addition of the "Emotion Detection ... Machine Learning, and Others), Software Tools (Facial ... Areas, End Users,and Regions - Global forecast ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) has ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... analysis of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the ... computer enabled tools that drive the field forward. ... report to: Identify the challenges and opportunities ... service providers and software solution developers, as well ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... p.m. , Location: Baruch S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of ... Blumberg Institute and The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 09, 2016 , ... Tunnell Consulting, Inc. ... Based in Paris, he will focus on acquiring new accounts and work closely with ... , “Fred brings to our European clients more than 15 years of ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... for Public Policy for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Dorman will ... ensure their voices are heard throughout the drug regulatory review process. , “Adding ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... LONDON , February 9, 2016 ... replace paper and protect IP   E-WorkBook ... will be rolled out in Germany ... and protect valuable IP. Users will be able to search ... or experiment as part of the application, to boost collaboration ...
Breaking Biology Technology: