Being an archaeologist was probably one of the coolest jobs a person could have back when we were kids. Back when a whip-toting archaeologist/college professor named Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr. traversed the world in search of relics and saved the world from Nazis. Hell, even Captain Picard was an archaeologist while captaining the goddamn Enterprise. Unearthing relics and dinosaur bones from eras long thought dead and bedding hot, mysterious women along the way? How much cooler can it get?
Unfortunately, it seems like all the coolest stuff has been discovered already, doesn’t it? All the dinosaur bones are in museums. Nobody’s found the Ark of the Covenant, or anything that can even come remotely close to melting a Nazi’s face off. And mosquitoes containing dinosaur blood perfectly preserved in Amber, leading to a wildlife theme park filled with cloned dinosaurs, financed by the late, great actor Richard Attenborough? Well, actually, we might have gotten pretty close on that one. Scientists just found 70 million year old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells from a Tyrannosaurus rex, the greatest of all the dinosaurs.
Know what that means? Simple, you fools. We are THAT much closer to cloning dinosaurs. Welcome…to Jurassic Park.
The soft stuff was recovered from the femur bone of a T-Rex known as “MOR 1125” that was found in a sandstone formation in Montana. Old MOR-y was only 18 when he/she/it died.
“We’re doing a lot of stuff in the lab right now that looks promising,” said lead researcher Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University. Clever girl.
They aren’t sure if they’ll be able to recover actual Dinosaur DNA from the thigh bone, but if they do, I think we’re looking at the ability to possibly clone a real-life Dino. And if we can do that, what’s to stop us from finding an eccentric billionaire to build a theme park on an island in South America? We’ll have to find a billionaire, though, as the great Sir Richard Attenborough passed away in August of this year.
Have they drawn any conclusions from the dinosaur tissue so far? Absolutely! They’ve even identified its closest cousin: the ostrich. “The vessels and contents are similar in all respects to blood vessels recovered from … ostrich bone,” Schweitzer reported.
An ostrich, huh? Reminds me of a certain annoying douche kid who compared the Velociraptor to a “six-foot turkey.”
So, you know, try to show a little respect, Dr. Schweitzer.
In all seriousness, this is a massive scientific discovery. Most of the dino-related finds archaeologists and scientists discover are long-since dried out, like a raisin in the sun, or the Kardashian mom. But soft tissue? Actual proteins? The possibilities are endless for finding out more about the dinosaurs, and possibly even cross-breeding or cloning one, bringing them into the modern day. You want a pet T-Rex? I want a fucking pet T-Rex.
One small step for science, one giant leap for me running in terror through a dinosaur theme park..
[via NBC News]
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