Washington, Apr 25 (UNI) Tyrannosaurus rex are the closest living relatives of modern birds, scientists claim.
Analysing proteins extracted from dinosaur bones, the research showed the first molecular data confirming the hypothesis of a close dinosaur-bird ancestry.
T rex shared more of its genetic makeup with ostriches and chickens than with living reptiles, like alligators, the scientists stated.
On the same basis, the research team has redrawn the family tree of major vertebrate groups, assigning the dinosaur a new place in evolutionary relationships.
''Our results at the genetic level agree with what has been seen in skeletal data. There is more than a 90 per cent probability that the grouping of T rex with living birds is real,'' New York Times quoted John M Asara from Harvard Medical School as saying.
For the molecular study, the scientists compared the dinosaur protein with similar protein from several dozen species of modern birds, reptiles and other animals.
Dr Organ, concluded that the molecular tests confirmed the prediction that extinct dinosaurs would show a higher degree of similarity with birds than with other extant vertebrates.
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