Paleontologists have just announced that a dinosaur fossil found in China may contain traces of DNA. If the microstructures are confirmed to be genetic material, it would be the first discovery of the chromosomal material found in a vertebrate fossil.
The fossilized dinosaur lived between 125 million and 113 million years ago, and is called Cudipteryx. According to the researchers, the animal will look like a turkey. The material was found in Jehol Biota, northeastern China, and the possible DNA discovery came when scientists analyzed the cartilage of the femur under a microscope.
For this, they received the help of hematoxylin and eosin dyes, which are chemicals that reveal the nuclei and cytoplasm of cells in tissues. Paleontologists compared it to chicken cartilage and found that they stained the same way, revealing that the substances that make up the chromosomes became visible. Preserving the fossils in the area was made possible by the volcanic ash that covered the bodies, says Li Zhiheng, a paleontologist and co-author of the study, preserving them even at the cellular level.
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However, this is not the first time that dinosaur genetic material has been found. Last year, in the United States, a sample of the skull of Hypacrosaurus was examined and researchers found traces of well-preserved genetic material. Materials from China have not yet been analyzed to confirm that DNA is indeed present in the cartilage. Publish the research in a scientific journal Communication biology.
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