A few snippets of protein extracted from the fossil of an extinct species of giant beaver are opening a new door in paleoproteomics, the study of ancient proteins. Ancient proteins can be used to place animals on the evolutionary tree, and could offer insights into how life and Earth’s environment have evolved over time. Typically, paleoproteomics relies on fossils collected for the purpose. But in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute used a fossil collected more than 170 years ago in central New York, and housed at the New York State Museum.
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