How Dinosaur Blood Vessels Preserve through the Ages Revealed

Credit: Boatman et al. 2019 and Smithsonian Institute

Infrared spectromicroscopy coupled with X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis show evidence that vertebrate blood vessels from a 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex tibia may persist across geologic “deep time” through two natural, protein-fusing processes: Fenton chemistry and glycation. This work provides direct evidence how soft-tissue structures may be preserved in dinosaur bones—countering long-standing scientific dogma that protein-based body parts cannot survive more than 1 million years.

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