And indeed, antibodies specific to PHEX detected this unique bone protein.
They try to solve this problem by proposing that bone protects the cells from bacteria that cause degradation.
A compelling new candidate for the title of "world's biggest dinosaur" – which stood as tall as a seven-storey building and was the length of three London buses – has been unearthed in Argentina in a discovery that could revolutionise our understanding of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth.
Scientists have found more than 200 bones from seven dinosaurs of the new species at a single site near La Flecha in Patagonia.
A Triceratops brow horn discovered in Dawson County, Montana, has been controversially dated to around 33,500 years, challenging the view that dinosaurs died out around 65 million years ago.
The finding radically suggests that early humans may have once walked the earth with the fearsome reptiles thousands of years ago.
Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the proteins.
The as-yet unnamed creature, referred to simply as the Giant by the researchers, is estimated to have been about 20m tall, 40m long and 77 tons in weight, about the same as 14 African elephants.
They found “transparent cell-like microstructures with dentritic [branching, just the shape expected for osteocytes] processes, some containing internal contents,” from both dinos.
They also used antibodies to detect the globular proteins actin and tubulin, used to make filaments and tubes in Cells are usually completely degraded soon after the death of the organism, so how could ‘bone cells’ and the molecules that comprise them persist in Mesozoic [evolutionary dino-age] bone?
rates of decomposition, they could not have lasted for the presumed 65 million years (Ma) since dino extinction, even if they had been kept at freezing point (never mind the much warmer climate proposed for the dinosaurs).
The presence of original molecular components is not predicted for fossils older than a million years, and the discovery of collagen in this well-preserved dinosaur supports the use of actualistic conditions to formulate molecular degradation rates and models, rather than relying on theoretical or experimental extrapolations derived from conditions that do not occur in nature.