Birds and dinosaurs, collagen, and Huxley.

I have already blogged about this topic in a short post [Yet another link between dinosaurs and birds], so I will just point out the existence of another paper along these lines using phylogenetic analyses of collagen amino acid sequences recovered from T. rex fossils to demonstrate a close affinity between theropod dinosaurs and birds (Organ et al. 2008), a link first proposed by T.H. Huxley in 1868. This newest analysis was led by Chris Organ, who also did the dinosaur cell/genome size estimation study (Organ et al. 2007; Zimmer 2007). They also looked at mastodons. The data from mastodons and dinosaur aren’t new (Asara et al. 2007; Schweitzer et al. 2007) — the main update is the inclusion extant species and of a phylogenetic component.


There are plenty of news stories about it, including the following.

Molecular Analysis Confirms Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Evolutionary Link To Birds (ScienceDaily)

From T. Rex to Chicken: The Dino-Bird Connection(Discovery News)

T. rex confirmed as great granddaddy of all birds (New Scientist)

Phylogenetic Tree: Dinosaurs, Alligators And … Ostriches? (Scientific Blogging)

Gunk in T. Rex Fossil Confirms Dino-Bird Lineage (LiveScience)

Finally, a reminder about how species names should be listed.
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References

Asara, J.M., M.H. Schweitzer, L.M. Freimark, M. Phillips, and L.C. Cantley. 2007. Protein sequences from mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex revealed by mass spectrometry. Science 316: 280-285.

Huxley, T.H. 1868. On the animals which are most nearly intermediate between birds and the reptiles. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 4, 2: 66-75.

Organ, C.L., A.M. Shedlock, A. Meade, M. Pagel, and S.V. Edwards. 2007. Origin of avian genome size and structure in non-avian dinosaurs. Nature 446: 180-184.

Organ, C.L., M.H. Schweitzer, W. Zheng, L.M. Freimark, L.C. Cantley, and J.M. Asara. 2008. Molecular phylogenetics of mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex. Science 320: 499.

Schweitzer, M.H., Z. Suo, R. Avci, J.M. Asara, M.A. Allen, F.T. Arce, and J.R. Horner. 2007. Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein. Science 316: 277-280.

Zimmer, C. 2007. Jurassic genome. Science 315: 1358-1359.




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