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UV Light Reveals Dinosaur Organs

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A team of scientists has used UV radiation to examine the internal organs of a baby dinosaur fossil discovered in Italy more than 15 years ago.
The fossil was originally found embedded in a limestone formation north of Naples. When it was rediscovered last year in the Archeological Administration in Salerno, paleontologists realized how much of the animal's flesh had been preserved. That led John A. Ruben of Oregon State University in Corvallis and Willem J. Hillenius of the College of Charleston in South Carolina to expose the fossil to intense UV radiation and image the organs.
The high-contrast images published in a recent issue of Science magazine have caused some scientists to rethink their theories about modern-day descendants of Jurassic-age animals. Scientists noted that the fossil presents strong evidence that dinosaurs had a breathing mechanism similar to that of modern crocodiles. The dinosaur's colon also lies very close to its spinal column, an arrangement also similar to the crocodile's.

Photonics Spectra
Mar 1999
Research & TechnologyTech Pulse

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