Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein

Science. 2007 Apr 13;316(5822):277-80. doi: 10.1126/science.1138709.


We performed multiple analyses of Tyrannosaurus rex (specimen MOR 1125) fibrous cortical and medullary tissues remaining after demineralization. The results indicate that collagen I, the main organic component of bone, has been preserved in low concentrations in these tissues. The findings were independently confirmed by mass spectrometry. We propose a possible chemical pathway that may contribute to this preservation. The presence of endogenous protein in dinosaur bone may validate hypotheses about evolutionary relationships, rates, and patterns of molecular change and degradation, as well as the chemical stability of molecules over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / chemistry*
  • Bone and Bones / ultrastructure
  • Collagen Type I / analysis*
  • Collagen Type I / ultrastructure
  • Dinosaurs*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fossils*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion


  • Collagen Type I