Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Roots Update

Take a science break and read David Ewing Duncan's exploration of whether you're a T-Rex or a chicken. An excerpt:

In the basement of Bozeman's Museum of the Rockies, I'm running my fingertips over a stump of the T-rex's cool, hard femur bone, or what's left after scientists sliced up and pulverized most of it in search of microspecks of soft tissue that should have decayed eons ago.

Instead, paleontologists discovered fragments of a protein with apparent similarity to Type I collagen [link to definition below], a building block of both skin and bone. In bone, it both holds the bone together and keeps it flexible. In human skin, collagen is the single largest component (after water). Collagen is found in most creatures with bones—including humans.

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