Geneticists have found remains that will help scientists "resurrect" dinosaurs

A group of scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences singled out

perfectly preserved cartilage cells indinosaur Caudipteryx. He lived in northeast China 125 million years ago. The cells themselves contain nuclei with remnants of organic molecules and chromatin. The research is published by the journal Communications Biology.

The dinosaur was a small omnivorous animal of the sizewith a peacock with long tail feathers. In the early Cretaceous period, he wandered along the shores of small lakes in the Jehol biota - an ecosystem that developed in northeastern China 133-120 million years ago in the territory of the modern Liaoning province. Scientists note that in the Jehol biota, the fossils are well preserved due to the fine volcanic ash that buried dead animals and protected the bodies from the external influences of the changing environment.

Reconstruction of the Jehol biota and a well-preserved specimen of caudipteryx. Credit: Image by ZHENG Qiuyang.

During the study, paleontologists extracted a piecedistal articular cartilage from the right femur of the specimen, decalcified and used various microscopic and chemical methods of analysis. All cells were mineralized by silicification after the death of the animal. This silicification, most likely, contributed to the excellent preservation of the dinosaur cells.

The preservation of the find turned out to be so unique,that experts were able to examine both some of the original biomolecules in cells, and chromatin strands. According to the authors, such studies bring science closer to the successful sequencing of dinosaur DNA. Caudipteryx cells are not completely fossilized and still contain remnants of organic molecules. In the future, scientists plan to find out if they have preserved any biological information and DNA remnants.

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