A real advantage is that promising “biomarkers” may be found in fossils that are too fragmentary to make it into the display collection:
Molecular paleobiologist Jasmina Wiemann has been on the forefront of this exciting research since 2018, co-authoring papers that reveal elements of fossils that cannot be immediately seen with our eyes but can be detected through a series of complex chemical and statistical analyses. Her recent paper, published this summer with Jason Crawford and Derek Briggs, builds upon other, similar research from the past two years. She and her co-authors claim they can determine the chemical signatures of skin, bone, teeth, and eggshell. Even better, they can train anyone else in the field within approximately 20 minutes to find these ancient traces using their techniques. It’s an opportunity they hope will be widely used within museum collections the world over.Jeanne Timmons, “Seemingly Ordinary Fossils May Be Hiding Some Major Clues to the Past” at Gizmodo
If so, expect to hear expressions like “unexpected,” “remarkable,” “earlier than thought” and “more complex than expected” quite frequently.
Paper. (open access)