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Author: rmhj Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 446826  
Subject: Re: OT: No more dinosaurs Date: 10/10/2012 4:00 PM
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Goofyhoofy: Turns out the half-life of DNA is 521 years, so the idea of finding an insect preserved in amber that happened to have just sucked up some dinosaur blood is, well, just a Hollywood fantasy. Not that it always wasn't, but there were some scientists who were hoping.

Somedays I'm appalled with Wired, which also ran with this story.

The "half life" of DNA, unlike radio-nuclides, is *highly* variable, depending very strongly on temperature and humidity, particularly, as well as a variety of other factors (light, microbes, ...). So we have decent T. Rex DNA, which is many millions of years old, and thousands of instances of unusable DNA only a few weeks old.

It's so variable as to make the concept of "half life" meaningless.

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