Evidence of preserved collagen in an Early Jurassic sauropodomorph dinosaur revealed by synchrotron FTIR microspectroscopy

Yao Chang Lee, Cheng Cheng Chiang, Pei Yu Huang, Chao Yu Chung, Timothy D. Huang, Chun Chieh Wang, Ching Iue Chen, Rong Seng Chang, Cheng Hao Liao, Robert R. Reisz

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Abstract

Fossilized organic remains are important sources of information because they provide a unique form of biological and evolutionary information, and have the long-term potential for genomic explorations. Here we report evidence of protein preservation in a terrestrial vertebrate found inside the vascular canals of a rib of a 195-million-year-old sauropodomorph dinosaur, where blood vessels and nerves would normally have been present in the living organism. The in situ synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectra exhibit the characteristic infrared absorption bands for amide A and B, amide I, II and III of collagen. Aggregated haematite particles (α-Fe 2 O 3) about 6-1/48 μm in diameter are also identified inside the vascular canals using confocal Raman microscopy, where the organic remains were preserved. We propose that these particles likely had a crucial role in the preservation of the proteins, and may be remnants partially contributed from haemoglobin and other iron-rich proteins from the original blood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14220
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2017

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