Archive for October, 2012

Dinosaur Bone Confirms Protein Preservation

Posted: October 24, 2012 by Maverick in Archaeology

Analysis of Dinosaur Bone Cells Confirms Ancient Protein Preservation

ScienceDaily (Oct. 23, 2012) — A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has found more evidence for the preservation of ancient dinosaur proteins, including reactivity to antibodies that target specific proteins normally found in bone cells of vertebrates. These results further rule out sample contamination, and help solidify the case for preservation of cells — and possibly DNA — in ancient remains.

Dr. Mary Schweitzer, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences with a joint appointment at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, first discovered what appeared to be preserved soft tissue in a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex in 2005. Subsequent research revealed similar preservation in an even older (about 80-million-year-old)Brachylophosaurus canadensis. In 2007 and again in 2009, Schweitzer and colleagues used chemical and molecular analyses to confirm that the fibrous material collected from the specimens was collagen.

Schweitzer’s next step was to find out if the star-shaped cellular structures within the fibrous matrix were osteocytes, or bone cells. Using techniques including microscopy, histochemistry and mass spectrometry, Schweitzer demonstrates that these cellular structures react to specific antibodies, including one — a protein known as PHEX — that is found in the osteocytes of living birds. The findings appear online in Bone and were presented last week at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

“The PHEX finding is important because it helps to rule out sample contamination,” Schweitzer says. “Some of the antibodies that we used will react to proteins found in other vertebrate cells, but none of the antibodies react to microbes, which supports our theory that these structures are surviving osteocytes. Additionally, the antibody to PHEX will only recognize and bind to one specific site only found in mature bone cells from birds. These antibodies don’t react to other proteins or cells. Because so many other lines of evidence support the dinosaur/bird relationship, finding these proteins helps make the case that these structures are dinosaurian in origin.”

Schweitzer and her team also tested for the presence of DNA within the cellular structures, using an antibody that only binds to the “backbone” of DNA. The antibody reacted to small amounts of material within the “cells” of both the T. rex and the B. canadensis. To rule out the presence of microbes, they used an antibody that binds histone proteins, which bind tightly to the DNA of everything except microbes, and got another positive result. They then ran two other histochemical stains which fluoresce when they attach to DNA molecules. Those tests were also positive. These data strongly suggest that the DNA is original, but without sequence data, it is impossible to confirm that the DNA is dinosaurian.

“The data thus far seem to support the theory that these structures can be preserved over time,” Schweitzer says. “Hopefully these findings will give us greater insight into the processes of evolutionary change.”

Dr. Marshall Bern, from PARC, performed the mass spectrometry. Former NC State doctoral student Timothy Cleland and research assistant Wenxia Zheng also contributed to the work, which was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by North Carolina State University.

North Carolina State University. “Analysis of dinosaur bone cells confirms ancient protein preservation.” ScienceDaily, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2012.

Journal Reference:

  1. Mary Higby Schweitzer, Wenxia Zheng, Timothy P. Cleland, Marshall Bern. Molecular analyses of dinosaur osteocytes support the presence of endogenous molecules. Bone, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2012.10.010


Along with commentary by noted Ph.D. scholar, Dr. Michael Heiser, independent filmmaker Chris White presents an exhaustive point-by-point critique of the Ancient Aliens series while providing a massive list of references from scientific journals and other scholarly sources to back up his definitive refutations.

These 252 footnotes, combined with White’s sound, logical arguments, show that the theories promoted by the History Channel as historical fact on this wildly popular series are actually embarrassingly easy to disprove.

Even those sympathetic to the ideas proposed in the Ancient Aliens series are giving praise to this new documentary. One author from the, a very prominent website that typically upholds the viewpoints touted in Ancient Aliens, recently said the following of White’s new film:

“A new 3-hour documentary, Ancient Aliens Debunked, takes the series apart, fact-checking individual’s claims on topics including pyramid construction, the Temple of Baalbek, Incan sites, Easter Island. Pacal’s ‘rocket’, the Nazca lines, and the Egyptian ‘light bulb’.…..[the film] offers clarifications, corrections, and background information that certainly removes much of the superficial gloss from Ancient Aliens.”

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This is part 1 of 3: The Megaliths

Intro, Puma Punku, The Pyramids, Baalbek, Incan sites, Easter Island.

Part 2: Ancient Artifacts

Pacal’s rocket, The Nazca Lines, Tolima “fighter jets”, Egyptian “light bulb”, Ufo’s in ancient art, The crystal skulls

Part 3: Ancient Texts

Ezekiel’s Wheel, Ancient nuclear warfare, Vimana’s, Anunnaki, Nephilim, Misc. and conclusion

By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent Telegraph U.K.

Filed: 26/12/2004)

It is one of the best-known stories in science: the evolution of mankind from ape-like creatures to modern humans via knuckle-grazing cave-dwellers.

Now it has been blown apart by the first comprehensive study of all the fossils, which has revealed that they are probably all variants of Homo sapiens.

This is the type of dumb illustration often included with these stories & it was this time as well.

The discovery comes as fossil-hunters in Indonesia continue to defend claims to have found yet another new species of human, dubbed “Hobbit Man”. If true, the diminutive creature would join such famous specimens as Lucy, Java Man and the Neanderthals in the complex family tree of mankind.

 The findings have significant implications for the oftenbitter debates between fossil-hunters about thesignificance of their finds. While they no longer bicker over the so-called “Missing Link” – the now-derided idea of a creature linking humans to chimpanzees – experts continue to argue over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.

 The number of human species claimed by fossil-hunters now stands at around 10, while the total number of human-like species exceeds 50. Such claims have long been based on supposedly significant differences in sizes and shapes of fossil bones.

Now they have all been thrown into doubt by research showing that the differences lie within the range expected for just a single species.

Professor Maciej Henneberg, of the University of Adelaide, a world authority on fossil human anatomy, made the discovery after analysing the skull sizes and estimated body weights for all of the 200 identified specimens of human-like fossils known as hominims.

These span the entire history of humans, from the emergence of so-called Australopithecines with an upright stance more than four million years ago to neolithic modern humans from around 10,000 years ago.

Prof Maciej Henneberg

Prof Henneberg found that the fossils show clear evidence of evolution, with substantial increases in both skull sizes and body-weight. However, he also found that the fossils show no evidence of being anything other than a single species which had grown bigger and smarter over time.

According to Prof Henneberg, the much-vaunted differences in fossil size used to identify “new” species all lie within the normal range expected for one species. Plotted out as a graph, they form the classic bell-shaped curve found using data from modern humans.

Reporting his findings in the current issue of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Prof Henneberg concludes:

 “All hominims appear to be a single gradually evolving lineage containing only one species at each point in time.”

 The findings have big implications for the often bitter debates between fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. Experts have long bickered over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.

Prof Henneberg has said that the new results suggest such disputes are meaningless, as they ignore the possibility of huge differences within the same species. He said they also raise doubts about the reliability of bones in identifying new human species: “There is no precise way in which we can test whether Julius Caesar and Princess Diana were members of the same species of Homo sapiens”.

According to Prof Henneberg, the study highlights the scant evidence for so many of the claimed new species of human. “Considering that there are only about 200 specimens in total, if these really do represent ten different species, that makes an average of just 20 specimens per species”.

He added that only a single skull had been found for the “Hobbit Man” of Indonesia.

Other authorities hailed Prof Henneberg’s findings as a much-needed reality check. “Clearly there is a need to be more aware of the possibility of variation – but that is not the inclination today,” said Geoffrey Harrison, emeritus professor of biological anthropology at the University of Oxford.

“It has been a problem because the discoverers have usually put so much effort into finding the evidence, so they want it to be important”.

Professor Chris Stringer, a leading expert on human fossils at the Natural History Museum, London, said even Neanderthals were not significantly different in skull or body size from modern humans.

However, he added that they do differ in other details, such as inner ear bones. He said: “The argument they are a different species is, of course, only a hypothesis, but comparisons of skull shape published recently certainly show they are as different from us as monkeys and apes are different from each other”.

According to Prof Henneberg, there are fewer than 30 examples of Neanderthals on which to base any conclusions. What evidence there is, however, is consistent with Neanderthals being from the same species as modern humans.

He added that the never-ending announcements of new species said more about those making the claims than about human evolution. “The problem is there are far more palaeontologists than fossil specimens”.

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