Tiny, delicate vessels that carried blood through a duck-billed dinosaur 80 million years ago never fossilized and still contain the beast’s tissue, a new study finds.
Researchers discovered the prize specimens on the femur (leg bone) of Brachylophosaurus canadensis, a 30-foot-long (9 meters) duck-billed dinosaur that was excavated in Montana in 2007. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether the blood vessels were made of organic matter originally from the dinosaur, or whether they had been contaminated over the years and were now made of bacteria or other components.
Now, several tests show that the specimens are the original blood vessels, making them the oldest blood vessels on record to survive with their original components, the researchers said. [Images: Discovering a Duck-Billed Dinosaur Baby]
Why ignore the obvious?