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Scientists examining the femur of a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex say they’ve confirmed that the creature was a mother-to-be. That would be a major find in the field of paleontology, where researchers are rarely able to determine a dinosaurs’s sex.
The team from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences published its findings in the journal Scientific Reports.
“This analysis allows us to determine the gender of this fossil, and gives us a window into the evolution of egg-laying in modern birds,” lead author Mary Schweitzer said in a statement.
This particular fossil belongs to a T. rex that roamed what is now Montana millions of years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, and it has a kind of tissue — medullary bone — found only in female birds that are carrying eggs or have just finished laying them, according to the research paper.
Schweitzer, a paleontologist at N.C. State, led a team that believed it found the medullary bone back in 2005. In preparing the bone for further study, Schweitzer also uncovered what she and some other paleontologists believe to be blood vessels — soft tissues somehow preserved for millions of years.
Medullary bone is unlike other bone types. It contains keratan sulfate and is only present during a brief window; once eggs are laid, you can’t find it anymore.
Read full, original post: Scientists believe they’ve found a ‘pregnant’ T. rex