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Soft tissue: what can we expect to learn?
Okay, so we know that DNA is out of the question, and
that protein, or protein fragments are our best bet.
With that in mind, what can we expect to learn from
I didn't hear the Don Lessem interview, so I don't
know what he mentioned, but I do see a lot of the news
reports saying that this could help identify the
thermophysiological affinities of _T.rex_. Is that
just typical, journalistic conjecture, or is there any
truth to this?
Offhand, I can't think of anything in a basic protein,
that would indicate one metabolic preference over the
other. The only thing that comes to mind, is finding a
protein with an analogue/homologue which has a very
narrow temperature tolerance. But given the efficiency
of active thermoregulation, combined with thermal
inertia, and the generally warm Mesozoic environment,
I can see, even that, going both ways.
Perhaps these proteins could hint at immunological
capacity, or digestive efficiency (though, given that
they came from a femur, I'm doubtful of the latter).
Anyway, I'm curious to see what other listmembers
think these proteins could shed light on. You know,
other than the fact that _T.rex_ had proteins. :)
"I am impressed by the fact that we know less about many modern [reptile] types
than we do of many fossil groups." - Alfred S. Romer
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