Jump to content
Ramon

How to find soft tissues in dinosaur bones???

Recommended Posts

Ramon

I recently heard of the discovery of soft tissues in a tyrannosaurus rex femur. That was a few years ago, but I was asking myself if I could try it out myself. Has somebody already tried this, or knows hown to do it? 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Ramon G.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Macrophyseter

Easy. Just borrow a powerful microscope, extract a thin sample of the surface material (make sure it doesn't get contaminated, might be smart to rent a lab btw) , and look around. :P

Well, I guess they don't just check on every random bone, but probably tries to go for the most likely to have soft tissue ones, which are probably the ones that were believed to be buried quickly. One example I can think of is the LA NHM's Platecarpus specimen (great fossil, its complete btw, and was probably the specimen that revolutionized mosasaur morphology), which on wikipedia shows a few pics of the fossil under a microscope showing extreme details of fossilized soft tissue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fossildude19

I don't believe this is something you could accomplish on your own. :unsure: 

 

See this article.

 

"Searching for soft tissue

Dinosaurs' iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They're also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone. 

Schweitzer is set to search for more dinosaur soft tissue this summer. "I'd like to find a honking big T. rex that's completely articulated that's still in the ground, or something similar," she said. To preserve the chemistry of potential soft tissue, the specimens must not be treated with preservatives or glue, as most fossil bones are, she said. And they need to be tested quickly, as soft tissue could degrade once exposed to modern air and humidity.

Importantly, Schweitzer and her colleagues have figured out how to remove the iron from their samples, which enables them to analyze the original proteins. They've even found chemicals consistent with being DNA, though Schweitzer is quick to note that she hasn't proven they really are DNA. The iron-removing techniques should allow paleontologists to search more effectively for soft tissue, and to test it when they find it.

"Once we can get the chemistry behind some of these soft tissues, there's all sorts of questions we can ask of ancient organisms," Schweitzer said."

 

And this article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WhodamanHD

I would applaud you if you could! I'd still try though, there is still a slight chance (they didn't expect tissue when they looked at the femur) that you could find some, and if you don't, the cross section of the bone would still be cool to look at histology and other things. You would need a saw for cutting a slice and a polisher to get it thin, then a slide and a microscope.  This is if you are willing to sacrifice part of a T. rex bone, in museums they replace the slice with apoxy and paint it over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ramon

Thanks for all of the information!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
siteseer

I have heard that other paleontologists have been unable to duplicate those findings.  They are of the opinion that the "soft tissue" is actually the result of recent contaminants.  I don't really follow dinosaur news that closely so you should research that further to find out exactly what was found and what others have said about it in technical journals.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×