Hold onto your butts. In theory, a real "Jurassic Park" situation could be unfolding as we speak.
Actually recreating a dinosaur would be a long way off, but thanks to a 195-million-year-old dinosaur rib, it is theoretically possible. On January 31, scientists published their ground-breaking discovery in Nature Communications. Deep inside a fossilized rib bone, they believe they've found traces of collagen, protein, and possibly blood -- the basic building blocks that it would take to clone a dinosaur.
Before you totally freak out, just know that the rib bone did not come from a "sharptooth." Rather, the material was found in the rib bone of a Lufengosaurus, a common leaf-eater from the Early Jurassic period.
According to paleontologists, the Lufengosaurus looked something like this. They grew to be roughly 30 feet long and lived in what is now southwestern China.
By analyzing a 195-million-year-old fossil with infrared spectoscopy, scientists have uncovered traces of soft tissue.
It's believed that these materials were able to survive via haematite particles, a mineral form of iron oxide. In the most basic terms, the particles created pockets, protecting the soft tissues.
More research is needed for scientists to be completely sure of what they have, but nevertheless, the findings were accepted and published by a peer-reviewed journal. Even if we are never able to clone dinosaurs, the findings show that proteins can live 100 million years longer than what researchers previously thought, and that's a big deal.
Maybe "Jurassic Park" wasn't that far-fetched after all. I just hope no one tries to clone a T-Rex or raptor anytime soon! Be sure to SHARE this awesome scientific breakthrough with your friends and family.