Segments in this Video

Hunt for Life (02:15)


Soft tissue and blood have been discovered inside of dinosaur bones. One paleontologist may be close to finding dinosaur DNA.

Male Dominated Science (02:25)

Dinosaur hunters are drawn to the American West. Dr. Mary Schweitzer lives in Montana where dinosaur remains have been recovered. More T Rex have been found here than anywhere else in the world.

Importance of Soft Tissue (02:50)

Dr. Schweitzer is studying the remains of a buffalo to learn more about T Rex. She notes that many questions about dinosaurs go unanswered because of a lack of biological material.

Turning Bones to Stone (01:58)

A lack of biological material has made it impossible to answer questions about dinosaurs. It has been thought that the fossilization process destroys every living thing in the bone.

Dinosaur Histology (01:47)

See a leg bone is cut up for analysis. Carved into thin slices and embedded in plastic, it is ready for examination under a microscope. This process was pioneered by Dr. Jack Horner.

Nucleated Red Blood Cells (03:30)

Dr. Schweitzer's discovery suggests that some organic matter can survive the process of fossilization. New tools and technology of molecular biology might be used to understand dinosaurs.

Debunked Lizard Comparison (03:35)

For decades, paleontologists relied on bones and teeth to get clues about dinosaur anatomy. The furcula is one of the characteristics that connects dinosaurs and birds.

Hells Creek, Montana (03:12)

Paleontologist Bob Harmon has a special gift for finding fossils. It took three years of careful digging to extricate the skeleton of a T Rex found in a cliffside. A femur was broken so it could be taken out by helicopter.

Reading Biological Material (03:24)

Dinosaur bones are removed with the soil surrounding them. The soil at Hell's Creek has special preservation properties. While examining a T Rex bone, Dr. Schweitzer found a group of specialized cells only found in birds

Pregnant Tyrannosaurus Bone (03:49)

Dr. Schweitzer compared the bone of a T Rex to the medullary bone of an ostrich. It's evolutionary history can be traced back 23 million years. A pregnant dead bird was needed to conduct the proper test.

Basics of Bone Biology (04:23)

Dr. Schweitzer describes the bone as biological material. A simple experiment revealed that it was possible to recover dinosaur collagen by disintegrating the mineral in a medullary bone with acid.

Discovering Building Blocks of Life (03:08)

Finding soft tissue in a dinosaur bone made it possible for Dr. Schweitzer to search for proteins in a T Rex bone using a test usually performed on chickens. This research was not initially accepted.

DNA Staining Procedure (03:21)

Dr. Schweitzer's work is gaining acceptance. She has ruled out the possibility of contamination and analyzed other dinosaur bones. She has begun looking for DNA in T Rex soft tissue.

Tarbasaurus Bataar (02:12)

Dr. Schweitzer visits Mongolia to see a well-preserved dinosaur fossil. This relative of the T Rex has light bones. Looters have fatally compromised any organic material the bones may hold.

Flaming Cliffs of Mongolia (02:54)

Dr. Schweitzer visits the Gobi Desert to find potentially well preserved fossils. She notes the importance of the site for paleontologists.

Search for Dinosaur DNA (04:01)

Dinosaur bones found in the Gobi Desert are well preserved because of the dry climate. Wet soil pushes out organic materials from fossils. Dr. Schweitzer's work is pioneering a new era in the understanding of dinosaurs.

Credits: Dinosaurs: The Hunt for Life (00:45)

Credits: Dinosaurs: The Hunt for Life

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Dinosaurs: The Hunt for Life

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



The hunt for life within the long-dead bones of dinosaurs may sound like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy—but one woman has found traces of life within the fossilized bones of a T. rex. Dr. Mary Schweitzer has seen the remains of red blood cells and touched the soft tissue of an animal that died 68 million years ago. She believes she may have found signs of DNA. Her work is revolutionizing our understanding of these iconic beasts. A BBC Production.

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL55773

ISBN: 978-0-81609-304-5

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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