Friday, April 13, 2007

Kentucky fried Tyrannosaurus

The big news in science this week is that we can add Tyrannosaurus rex to that list of animals that taste like chicken. A team at North Carolina State University used some very sophisticated techniques to extract and purify some proteins found in the femur of a 68-million-year-old T. rex excavated in Montana a few years ago. Comparing the protein sequences to living species, the team found they most resembled chicken, though some sequences also resembled frogs and salamanders.

The protein sequences extracted were collagen peptides (protein fragments made up of multiple amino acids) and nowhere not DNA or complex genetic materials. We will not be cloning T. rexes to sic on our neighbors anytime soon.

The team had previously used the technique on a 200,000-year-old and, while working on the T. rex, also extracted proteins from a 600,000-year-old mastodon. There was no mention in the report as to whether the mammoth or mastodon taste like chicken.

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