Chickens and T. rex are Relatives?
Scientists are fleshing out the proof that today's broiler-fryer is descended from the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. And, not a surprise, they confirmed a close relationship between mastodons and elephants.
Now, bits of protein obtained from connective tissues in a T. rex fossil shows a relationship to birds including chickens and ostriches, according to a report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.
"These results match predictions made from skeletal anatomy, providing the first molecular evidence for the evolutionary relationships of a non-avian dinosaur," Chris Organ, a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Harvard University said in a statement.
Co-author John M. Asara of Harvard reported last year that his team had been able to extract collagen from a T. rex and that it most closely resembled the collagen of chickens.
They weren't able to recover dinosaur DNA, the genetic instructions for life, but DNA codes for the proteins they did study.
While the researchers were able to obtain just a few proteins from T. rex, they have now been able to show the relationships with birds.
With more data, Organ said, they would probably be able to place T. rex on the evolutionary tree between alligators and chickens and ostriches.
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