How Do You Find the DNA of a HYPACROSAURUS?
When paleontologists examined the skulls and cartilage of fossilized Hypacrosaurus stebingeri babies from Montana, they discovered what appeared to be fragmentary DNA (see photos above). The discovery was sensational: Until that time no one believed DNA could survive for even a fraction of the 75 million years for which these fossils had lain in the ground. “It was an exciting find that added to a growing body of evidence that tissues, cells, and nuclear material can persist for millions—even tens of millions—of years,” says paleontologist Alida Bailleul, who was involved in the investigation. “When I saw it, I freaked out a little bit—moving away from the microscope, thinking, moving back to the microscope. This sub-cellular level of preservation had never been seen in a vertebrate.”