Researchers have discovered something super cool: cartilage cells, DNA, and chromosomes in 75-million-year-old fossils. Before this discovery, scientists believed that organic material could only survive up to a million years.
But the recent discovery of fossils from a baby duck-billed dinosaur has proven this theory wrong, and the researchers are quite excited about these findings!
Alida Bailleul, author of the study and palaeontologist, notes,
'These new exciting results add to growing evidence that cells and some of their biomolecules can persist in deep-time.'
She continues by saying,
'We hope that this study will encourage scientists working on ancient DNA to push current limits and to use new methodology in order to reveal all the unknown molecular secrets that ancient tissues have.'
As the scientists analysed the fossils under the microscope, Dr Bailleul said, 'I couldn't believe it, my heart almost stopped beating.' Next, they aimed to find out if the original molecules still existed in the cartilage.
Mary Schweitzer, paper author and palaeontologist said, 'This immunological test supports the presence of remnants of original cartilaginous proteins in this dinosaur.'
Meanwhile, another test unveiled that some of the fossils may still have some of the original pieces of dinosaur DNA. So why did dinosaurs go extinct in the first place? Take a look at our video for some facts!