Being an educator at the DNALC does not mean that everything has to be all “DNA”!  Sometimes, it’s all about proteins.  My background is in ecology and evolution, with a particular bent towards dinosaurs.  In 2005, dinosaur paleontologists decided to slice the leg bone of a 68 million year old Tyrannosaurus rex, just to see what it looked like inside.  They were in for a surprise.  There were remnants of soft tissue – still present after 68 million years!!

In 2007, they were able to identify and compare seven protein sequences.  Three of these proteins seemed to be closely related to chickens.  Two others resembled frog and newt sequences.

Although tempting to contemplate, this does not indicate that T Rex was really a “Chikafrogonewtasaurus.”  This information simply provides us with tools to better understand the relationships between extinct and extant animals.

Who knows, maybe we are getting closer and closer to a new “Jurassic Park” reality show…