Soft tissue recovered from an early Cretaceous dinosaur
What if many are indistinguishable from modern lizards? Would that be like fossil rabbits in the Cambrian?
Johan Lindgren et al explain the process in “Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins”:
The fossil record is capable of exceptional preservation and occasionally labile and decay-prone tissues, such as skin and melanosomes (color-bearing organelles), are preserved as phosphatized remains or organic residues with a high degree of morphological fidelity , . Yet, whether multimillion-year-old fossils harbor original organic components remains controversial , , and, if they do, a positive identification of these biomolecules is required.
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Here, we present the results from a broad array of biochemical and molecular analyses of fibrous bone tissues isolated from an exceptionally preserved 70 Ma mosasaur (a Cretaceous marine lizard ) humerus (IRSNB 1624; Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique) referred to the genus Prognathodon from the early Maastrichtian Ciply Phosphatic Chalk of Belgium. Specifically, we employ synchrotron radiation-based infrared microspectroscopy (IR) because this technique provides information on complex organic molecules in selected microstructures , .
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