02 October 2006

More T Rex barbecue?

RexBurger?

Scientists in California are trying to preserve soft Tyrannysaurus Rex tissue found after a bone was broken apart a few months ago to fit it into a helicopter for removal from the dig site.

I have trouble seeing something as reptilian (& old) making a tasty piece of barbecue & the scientists have no overt goals of reproducing the sample, but it would be kind of eerie to have RexBurger or Grilled Rex.

Given that this is soft tissue, there might be some serious squabbling about the age, too. How does one preserve meat — essentially intact — for 70 million years? Or even for the thousand or so “reasonable minimum” that it must surely have been there for?

One half-heartedly wonders what else might be possible. Wing of pteranodon? Mosasaur jaw? Whole roast diplodocus carnegii?

11 comments:

Leon Brooks said...

Same story, different source.

Leon Brooks said...

Followup-ish post from the Smithsonian. Interesting read.

Leon Brooks said...

one more interesting followup.

Leon Brooks said...

Quoting the lady herself, some wise words:

“As a scientist, I don't think you should ever use the word never.”

Major said...

How does one preserve meat — essentially intact — for 70 million years?

Place it in an airtight container (like a lunp of clay), heat it to the point where any bacteria inside are killed, and then bury the container for 70 million years.

Leon Brooks said...

Keep it airtight — at the surface — for 70 megayears? You’re swimming in patience, lad. (-:

Major said...

Who said it was at the surface for 70M years?

Major said...

It certainly wasn't on the surface when it was found (thats why they call them "digs") it was "incorporated in a soft well-sorted sandstone which was interpreted as esturarine in origin".
[Schweitzer et. al. pp1952-3]

Leon Brooks said...

Er... it was spotted because some of the bone in it was protruding from the surface & was seen:

"In 2000, Bob Harmon, a field crew chief from the Museum of the Rockies, was eating his lunch in a remote Montana canyon when he looked up and saw a bone sticking out of a rock wall. That bone turned out to be part of what may be the best preserved T. rex in the world."

Major said...

Reading on... "Over the next three summers, workers chipped away at the dinosaur, gradually removing it from the cliff face". Three summers, even at the glacial pace of paleontology, would indicate that most of it was buried.

Given that the "estuarine" sandstone was found in a desert and the state of preservation it is safe to assume that the exposure of the end is recent.

Leon Brooks said...

"Gradually removing" it? Sounds like a few summers' worth in that one phrase.