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Oldest Dinosaur Protein Found – Blood Vessels, More

The fossilized leg of an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur has yielded the oldest known proteins preserved in soft tissue, including blood vessels and other connective tissue as well as perhaps blood cell proteins.

The hints of hemoglobin remain speculative and are not covered in the new, peer-reviewed study, which appears in today’s issue of the journal Science.

Some scientists suspect the hemoglobin is a contaminant.

If it’s not a contaminant, “it is much bigger news than [the confirmed discoveries of blood vessels and other connective tissues in] this paper,” said Pavel Pevzner, a computational biologist at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the new research.

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