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(Bio) Dinosaurs: Near-complete Titanosaurus in Argentina
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject: Meep-Meep! 'Road Runner' Dino Discovered Reply with quote

Meep-Meep! 'Road Runner' Dino Discovered
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 22 June 2007 02:09 pm ET

Skeletal remains from a 220-million-year-old dinosaur reveal a prehistoric road runner of sorts, whose svelte figure and long legs allowed it to evade predators lickety-split.

The creature stood about 12 inches tall at the hips and weighed just 4.4 pounds. Its head-to-tail length was about 3 feet, with about half of that taken by the tail. The new species is aptly named Eocursor parvus, meaning “early little runner.”

The fox-sized dinosaur is thought to be one of the oldest members of a group of plant-eating dinos called Ornithischians. Later Ornithischians, including the “elephantine” Stegosaurus and Triceratops, evolved from this half-pint, two-legged dinosaur.

“The few Ornithischian fossils from the Triassic are incomplete and controversial, so we know virtually nothing about the group's early evolution,” said lead study author Richard Butler of the Natural History Museum in London.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....unior.html
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:49 am    Post subject: Baby Dino Skeleton Sheds Light on Growth Reply with quote

Baby Dino Skeleton Sheds Light on Growth
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 05 July 2007 09:00 am ET

A new fossil of a juvenile dinosaur that lived 140 million years ago is shedding light on how the ancient reptiles grew from youngsters to enormous adults.

Archaeologists unearthed the dinosaur in 1999 from the Lower Morrison Formation of the Howe Ranch in Bighorn County, Wyoming. They estimate the dinosaur was about 1 year old when it died toward the end of the Jurassic Period (206 million to 144 million years ago).

“It’s the only complete skeleton of a juvenile sauropod we know of,” said lead researcher Daniela Schwarz of the Natural History Museum in Basel, Switzerland.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani....._dino.html
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Dinosaur Sex Started Young Reply with quote

Dinosaur Sex Started Young
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 19 July 2007 08:50 am ET

Dinosaurs had sex well before they reached full physical maturity, just as crocodiles and people can, research now reveals.

In birds, which are essentially living dinosaurs, sex begins only after peak adult size. On the other hand, in people as well as crocodiles, alligators, lizards and snakes, sexual maturity can begin after the juvenile growth spurt but well before peak adult size.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....young.html
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:56 am    Post subject: Dinosaurs' Rise to Dominance Was Gradual Reply with quote

Dinosaurs' Rise to Dominance Was Gradual
By Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 19 July 2007 02:00 pm ET

Fossils uncovered in New Mexico show dinosaurs co-existed with a closely related group of reptiles for millions of years before overtaking them to become the dominant land animals on Earth.

The finding, detailed in the July 20 issue of the journal Science, suggests the dinosaurs' rise to dominance was a gradual ascent rather than a sudden takeover. It challenges the notions that dinosaurs quickly replaced or out-competed their close relatives, the “dinosauromorphs ,” or that dinosauromorphs were long gone before the dinosaurs’ appearance.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani....._rise.html
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:13 pm    Post subject: How Giant Dinosaurs Survived Vulnerable Youth Reply with quote

How Giant Dinosaurs Survived Vulnerable Youth
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 30 July 2007 12:01 pm ET

Titanosaurs were among the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth, with some gargantuan examples believed to have weighed more than 100 tons. Bony scales dotted their hides, but their purpose remained a mystery.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject: T. Rex Could Outrun Humans Reply with quote

T. Rex Could Outrun Humans
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 22 August 2007 08:43 am ET

Virtual races between prehistoric beasts reveal that one of the smallest carnivorous dinosaurs would have zipped past the lumbering Tyrannosaurus rex by a long shot. But even so, the "tyrant lizard king" was no slouch.

Turns out, T. rex could have outrun some of the buffest athletes.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....speed.html
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Tiny Dino Was Ready to Fly Reply with quote

Tiny Dino Was Ready to Fly
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 06 September 2007 02:03 pm ET

Remains of a petite dinosaur reveal that some of the ancestors of birds had already shrunk in size before flight evolved.

The dinosaur, a mere 2 feet long (70 centimeters) and weighing the equivalent of two cans of soda, roamed the Earth 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous period (between 146 and 65 million years ago).

"This specimen shows that dinosaurs evolved small size earlier than we previously thought," said study team member Julia Clarke, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....osaur.html
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:14 am    Post subject: Feathered Fossils Reply with quote

Feathered Fossils
Emily Sohn

Sept. 26, 2007

As dinosaurs go, Velociraptor mongoliensis is fairly famous. Three starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park.
Despite the creature's fame, scientists have found remains from only about 20 velociraptors. Most of those discoveries turned up in the last 15 years or so, says Alan H. Turner, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

After a close look at some ancient bones, Turner and colleagues recently made a surprising discovery about velociraptors. They found the first direct evidence of big feathers on a relatively large dino.

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http://www.sciencenewsforkids....../Note3.asp
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject: Toothy dinosaur newest to come out of southern Utah Reply with quote

University of Utah
3 october 2007

Toothy dinosaur newest to come out of southern Utah
Utah and California researchers unearth new duck-billed species in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

SALT LAKE CITY -- The newest dinosaur species to emerge from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument had some serious bite, according to researchers from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....092707.php
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Digging the Scene: Dinos burrowed, built dens Reply with quote

Week of Oct. 27, 2007; Vol. 172, No. 17 , p. 259

Digging the Scene: Dinos burrowed, built dens
Sid Perkins

Paleontologists have unearthed an ancient, sediment-filled burrow that holds remains of the creatures that dug it. The find is the first indisputable evidence that some dinosaurs maintained an underground lifestyle for at least part of their lives.

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http://sciencenews.org/articles/20071027/fob1.asp
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject: Baddest Dinos Breathed Like Birds Reply with quote

Baddest Dinos Breathed Like Birds
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 07 November 2007 11:50 am ET

Velociraptors, tyrannosaurs and other related carnivorous dinosaurs breathed like some of today’s diving birds and consequently were probably speedy predators, a new study finds.

In recent years, paleontologists have learned that birds are direct ancestors of theropod dinosaurs, sharing anatomical features such as hollow bones, three functional toes on their feet and often even feathers.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....thing.html
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:15 pm    Post subject: Double Trouble: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs Reply with quote

Double Trouble: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 12 November 2007 07:19 am ET

Instead of being driven to extinction by death from above, dinosaurs might have ultimately been doomed by death from below in the form of monumental volcanic eruptions.

The suggestion is based on new research that is part of a growing body of evidence indicating a space rock alone did not wipe out the giant reptiles.


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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....anoes.html
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Toothy Dinosaur Mowed Earth Like Cow Reply with quote

Toothy Dinosaur Mowed Earth Like Cow
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 15 November 2007 10:50 am ET

A stout sauropod with a shovel-shaped muzzle mowed Earth's greenery about 110 million years ago like a cow with hundreds of tiny teeth, a paleontologist said today.

The first bones from this dinosaur were picked up in the Sahara Desert in what is now Niger by French paleontologists in the 1950s. Then in the late 1990s, Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues discovered the bulk of the dino's bones, including its skull. Recent analyses, including X-ray scans of the fossil bones, revealed it to be an odd-looking behemoth dubbed Nigersaurus taqueti, capable of growing new needle-shaped teeth over and over when old ones fell out.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....aurus.html
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject: Hall of Dinos Reply with quote

Hall of Dinos
Emily Sohn

Nov. 28, 2007

If you live near Pittsburgh or happen to travel there, you might want to swing by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. On November 21, the museum unveiled the largest dinosaur mural in the world.
The painting is 180 feet (55 meters) long and an average of 15 feet (4.6 m) tall. It wraps around three of the four walls of the museum's dinosaur halls.

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http://www.sciencenewsforkids....../Note2.asp
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:28 pm    Post subject: New Dinosaur Discovered in Antarctica Reply with quote

New Dinosaur Discovered in Antarctica
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 11 December 2007 09:41 am ET

A hefty, long-necked dinosaur that lumbered across the Antarctic before meeting its demise 190 million years ago has been identified and named, more than a decade after intrepid paleontologists sawed and chiseled the remains of the primitive plant-eater from its icy grave.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....-dino.html
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: New Blood-Thirsty Dinosaur Identified Reply with quote

New Blood-Thirsty Dinosaur Identified
By Dave Mosher, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 11 December 2007 07:00 pm ET

A graduate student has identified the remains of one of the planet’s largest meat-eating dinosaurs ever found.

Steve Brusatte, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in England, determined fossils discovered during a 1997 Nigerian expedition belong to a new breed of meat-eating dinosaur called Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....osaur.html
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Insect attack may have finished off dinosaurs Reply with quote

Oregon State University
2 January 2008

Insect attack may have finished off dinosaurs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Asteroid impacts or massive volcanic flows might have occurred around the time dinosaurs became extinct, but a new book argues that the mightiest creatures the world has ever known may have been brought down by a tiny, much less dramatic force – biting, disease-carrying insects.

An important contributor to the demise of the dinosaurs, experts say, could have been the rise and evolution of insects, especially the slow-but-overwhelming threat posed by new disease carriers. And the evidence for this emerging threat has been captured in almost lifelike-detail – many types of insects preserved in amber that date to the time when dinosaurs disappeared.

“There are serious problems with the sudden impact theories of dinosaur extinction, not the least of which is that dinosaurs declined and disappeared over a period of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years,” said George Poinar Jr., a courtesy professor of zoology at Oregon State University. “That time frame is just not consistent with the effects of an asteroid impact. But competition with insects, emerging new diseases and the spread of flowering plants over very long periods of time is perfectly compatible with everything we know about dinosaur extinction.”

This concept is outlined in detail in “What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease and Death in the Cretaceous,” a book by George and Roberta Poinar, just published by Princeton University Press.

In it, the authors argue that insects provide a plausible and effective explanation for the slow, inexorable decline and eventual extinction of dinosaurs over many thousands of years. This period is known as the famous “K-T Boundary,” or the line between the Cretaceous and Tertiary Period about 65 million years ago. There is evidence that some catastrophic events, such as a major asteroid or lava flows, also occurred at this time – but these provide no complete explanation for the gradual decline of dinosaur populations, and even how some dinosaurs survived for thousands of years after the K-T Boundary.

Insects and disease, on the other hand, may have been a lot slower, but ultimately finished the job.

“We don’t suggest that the appearance of biting insects and the spread of disease are the only things that relate to dinosaur extinction,” Poinar said. “Other geologic and catastrophic events certainly played a role. But by themselves, such events do not explain a process that in reality took a very, very long time, perhaps millions of years. Insects and diseases do provide that explanation.”

Poinar and his wife, Roberta, have spent much of their careers studying the plant and animal life forms found preserved in amber, using them to re-create the biological ecosystems that were in place millions of years ago. They are also authors of “The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World.”

As a semi-precious gem that first begins to form as sap oozing from a tree, amber has the unique ability to trap very small animals or other materials and – as a natural embalming agent – display them in nearly perfect, three-dimensional form millions of years later. This phenomenon has been invaluable in scientific and ecological research, and among other things, formed the scientific premise for the movie Jurassic Park, for the "dinosaur DNA" found in mosquitoes.

“During the late Cretaceous Period, the associations between insects, microbes and disease transmission were just emerging,” Poinar said. “We found in the gut of one biting insect, preserved in amber from that era, the pathogen that causes leishmania – a serious disease still today, one that can infect both reptiles and humans. In another biting insect, we discovered organisms that cause malaria, a type that infects birds and lizards today.

“In dinosaur feces, we found nematodes, trematodes and even protozoa that could have caused dysentery and other abdominal disturbances. The infective stages of these intestinal parasites are carried by filth-visiting insects.”

In the Late Cretaceous, Poinar said, the world was covered with warm-temperate to tropical areas that swarmed with blood-sucking insects carrying leishmania, malaria, intestinal parasites, arboviruses and other pathogens, and caused repeated epidemics that slowly-but-surely wore down dinosaur populations. Ticks, mites, lice and biting flies would have tormented and weakened them.

“Smaller and separated populations of dinosaurs could have been repeatedly wiped out, just like when bird malaria was introduced into Hawaii, it killed off many of the honeycreepers,” Poinar said. “After many millions of years of evolution, mammals, birds and reptiles have evolved some resistance to these diseases. But back in the Cretaceous, these diseases were new and invasive, and vertebrates had little or no natural or acquired immunity to them. Massive outbreaks causing death and localized extinctions would have occurred.”

In similar fashion, the researchers suggest, insects would have played a major role in changing the nature of plant life on Earth – the fundamental basis for all dinosaur life, whether herbivore, omnivore or carnivore. As the dinosaurs were declining, their traditional food items such as seed ferns, cycads, gingkoes and other gymnosperms were largely being displaced by flowering plants, which insects helped spread by their pollination activities. These plants would have spread to dominate the landscape. Also, insects could have spread plant diseases that destroyed large tracts of vegetation, and the insects could have been major competitors for the available plant food supply.

“Insects have exerted a tremendous impact on the entire ecology of the Earth, certainly shaping the evolution and causing the extinction of terrestrial organisms,” the authors wrote in their book. “The largest of the land animals, the dinosaurs, would have been locked in a life-or-death struggle with them for survival.”

The confluence of new insect-spread diseases, loss of traditional food sources, and competition for plants by insect pests could all have provided a lingering, debilitating condition that dinosaurs were ultimately unable to overcome, the researchers say. And these concerns – which might have pressured the dinosaurs for thousands of years – may have finished the job, along with the changing environment, meteor impacts and massive lava flows.

“We can’t say for certain that insects are the smoking gun, but we believe they were an extremely significant force in the decline of the dinosaurs,” Poinar said. “Our research with amber shows that there were evolving, disease-carrying vectors in the Cretaceous, and that at least some of the pathogens they carried infected reptiles. This clearly fills in some gaps regarding dinosaur extinctions.”


###
Editor’s Note: Images of Cretaceous Period insects in amber to illustrate this story are available at the web site of OSU News and Communication Services, at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/nc.....rmese.html
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Dinosaurs Dealt With Adolescent Pregnancies Reply with quote

Dinosaurs Dealt With Adolescent Pregnancies
By Sara Goudarzi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 15 January 2008 10:01 am ET

Dinosaurs became sexually active as half-grown adolescents and were able to get pregnant as early as age 8, according to a new study.

Allosaurus, a carnivorous relative of Tyrannosaurus rex from the Jurassic Period, and Tenontosaurus, a herbivorous relative of the duckbilled dinosaurs, became pregnant well before they were full grown.

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http://www.livescience.com/ani.....gnant.html
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: Tiny Pterodactyl Reply with quote

Tiny Pterodactyl
Emily Sohn

Feb. 27, 2008

Imagine a creature that's a cross between a dinosaur and a bird and you'll have a good idea of what a pterodactyl looked like. These ancient creatures were reptiles, but they flew. In fact, they were probably the first vertebrates to fly.

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http://www.sciencenewsforkids....../Note3.asp
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Molecular analysis confirms T. rex's evolutionary link to bi Reply with quote

Molecular analysis confirms T. rex's evolutionary link to birds
Similar study of protein from ancient collagen shows mastodon link to modern elephants
Harvard University
24 April 2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Putting more meat on the theory that dinosaurs’ closest living relatives are modern-day birds, molecular analysis of a shred of 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex protein – along with that of 21 modern species – confirms that dinosaurs share common ancestry with chickens, ostriches, and to a lesser extent, alligators.

The work, published this week in the journal Science, represents the first use of mo-lecular data to place a non-avian dinosaur in a phylogenetic tree that traces the evolution of species. The scientists also report that similar analysis of 160,000- to 600,000-year-old collagen protein sequences derived from mastodon bone establishes a close phylogenetic relationship between that extinct species and modern elephants.

“These results match predictions made from skeletal anatomy, providing the first molecular evidence for the evolutionary relationships of a non-avian dinosaur,” says co-author Chris Organ, a postdoctoral researcher in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. “Even though we only had six peptides – just 89 amino acids – from T. rex, we were able to establish these relationships with a relatively high degree of sup-port. With more data, we’d likely see the T. rex branch on the phylogenetic tree between alligators and chickens and ostriches, though we can’t resolve this position with currently available data.”

The current paper builds on work reported in Science last year. In that paper, a team headed by John M. Asara and Lewis C. Cantley, both of Beth Israel Deaconess Medi-cal Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), first captured and sequenced tiny pieces of collagen protein from T. rex. For the current work, Organ and Asara and their colleagues used sophisticated algorithms to compare collagen protein from several dozen species. The goal: placing T. rex on the animal kingdom’s family tree using molecu-lar evidence.

“Most of the collagen sequence was obtained from protein and genome databases but we also needed to sequence some critical organisms, including modern alligator and modern ostrich, by mass spectrometry,” says Asara, director of the mass spectrometry core facility at BIDMC and instructor in pathology at HMS. “We determined that T. rex, in fact, grouped with birds – ostrich and chicken – better than any other organism that we studied. We also show that it groups better with birds than modern reptiles, such as alliga-tors and green anole lizards.”

While scientists have long suspected that birds, and not more basal reptiles, are di-nosaurs’ closest living relatives, for years that hypothesis rested largely on morphological similarities in bird and dinosaur skeletons.

The scraps of dinosaur protein were wrested from a fossil femur discovered in 2003 by John Horner of the Museum of the Rockies in a barren fossil-rich stretch of land that spans Wyoming and Montana. Mary H. Schweitzer of North Carolina State Univer-sity (NCSU) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences discovered soft-tissue preservation in the T. rex bone in 2005; Asara became involved in analysis of the colla-gen protein because of his expertise in mass spectrometry techniques capable of se-quencing minute amounts of protein from human tumors. While it appears impossible to salvage DNA from the bone, Asara was able to extract precious slivers of protein.

The current work by Organ and Asara suggests that the extracted protein from the fossilized dinosaur tissue is authentic, rather than contamination from a living spe-cies.

“These results support the endogenous origin of the preserved collagen mole-cules,” the researchers write.


###

Organ, Asara, Schweitzer, and Cantley’s co-authors on the Science paper are Wenxia Zheng of NCSU and Lisa M. Freimark of BIDMC. Their research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Paul F. Glenn Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
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