Soft Tissues in Fossils ?!?
This week an article published in the cross disciplinary journal Nature Communications claims to have potentially found red blood cells in a fossil. Its really quite a claim to make.
Apparently they examined fossils that weren’t particularly well preserved, that have spent a century in the collections of the Imperial College London Natural History Museum. They aren’t claiming to have found them but they say they may have.
The alleged discovery of soft tissue in a fossil started back in 2005 by Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University. Peggy Ostrom has been extracting protein from fossils and sequencing it. A soft tissue lizard fossil from the late cretaceous has been found. Also a claim of soft tissue from a triceratops fossil was made but the researcher in question was terminated by his research institution and some questions linger over this discovery.
Truly these claims sound fantastic but they might be valid. Certainly there is a growing number of them being made. Time will tell what consensus works out to be. If its true we can learn a lot more about these extinct creatures than we ever imagined.