A North Carolina researcher is among those who have decoded proteins from a Tyrannosaurus rex that's considered the oldest such material ever found.
The unprecedented step -- once thought impossible -- adds new weight to the idea that today's birds are descendants of the mighty dinosaurs.
Dinosaur bones have long been studied. But Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University says ``it's always been assumed'' that preservation doesn't extend to the cellular or molecular level.
She says it had been thought that some proteins could last a million years or more, but not to the age of the dinosaurs.
The researchers believe this material is 68 million year old.