Back to list

Taiwanese dinosaur protein find highlighted by U.S. magazine

2018/03/15 18:41:13

Photo courtesy of National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center

Taipei, March 15 (CNA) U.S. science magazine Discover has ranked the case of a Taiwanese scientist and his research team who found protein in a 195 million-year-old dinosaur fossil as its number 12 top story of 2017.

The discovery was first published by Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and Discover's website, on Jan. 31, 2017.

The story describes how an international team of scientists led by Lee Yao-chang (李耀昌) of Taiwan's National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center used a new method to find the protein collagen in a fossil that is more than 100 million years older than previous preserved protein findings.

Lee's team used a non-destructive approach known as in situ synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy, to look inside the rib fossils of the Lufengosaurus specimen.

Essentially, it was like looking at tiny blood vessels whose diameter was one-third that of a human hair.

The team was able to "identify molecular structures based on their infrared absorption band signatures," Discover wrote, which found both collagen and hematite.

Hematite is believed to have preserved the collagen by sealing off vascular channels once the blood broke down and the dinosaur remains were fossilized.

This marks the first time in several years that a research paper whose lead author is a Taiwanese scientist, has been featured in Discover.

(By Chu Tse-wei and Kuan-lin Liu)