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Title: The mapping and differentiation of biological and environmental elemental signatures in the fossil remains of a 50 million year old bird

Abstract

The preservation of fossils reflects the interplay of inorganic and organic chemical processes, which should be clearly differentiated to make interpretations about the biology of extinct organisms. A new coliiformes bird (mouse bird) from the ~50 million year old Green River Formation (Wyoming, USA) has here been analysed using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence and environmental scanning electron microscopy with an attached X-ray energy dispersive system (ESEM-EDS). The concentration and distribution of 16 elements (Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Mg, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Ba, Hg) has been mapped for individual points on the sample. S, Cu and Zn map distinctly within visibly preserved feathers and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) shows that S and Cu within the feathers are organically bound in a similar manner to modern feathers. The morphological preservation of the feathers, on both macro- and microscopic scales, is variable throughout the fossil and the differences in the lateral microfacies have resulted in a morphological preservation gradient. This study clearly differentiates endogenous organic remains from those representing exogenous overprinted geochemical precipitates and illustrates the chemical complexity of the overall taphonomic process.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [3];  [3];  [3];  [4];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [5]
  1. Univ. of Manchester (United Kingdom)
  2. American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York, NY (United States). Division of Paleontology
  3. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  4. Diamond Light Source, Didcot (United Kingdom)
  5. Univ. of Manchester (United Kingdom); American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York, NY (United States). Division of Paleontology
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1214947
Grant/Contract Number:  
NE/J023426/1
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 30; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0267-9477
Publisher:
Royal Society of Chemistry
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY

Citation Formats

Egerton, Victoria M., Wogelius, Roy A., Norell, Mark A., Edwards, Nicholas P., Sellers, William I., Bergmann, Uwe, Sokaras, Dimosthenis, Alonso-Mori, Roberto, Ignatyev, Konstantin, van Veelen, Arjen, Anné, Jennifer, van Dongen, Bart, Knoll, Fabien, and Manning, Phillip L. The mapping and differentiation of biological and environmental elemental signatures in the fossil remains of a 50 million year old bird. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1039/C4JA00395K.
Egerton, Victoria M., Wogelius, Roy A., Norell, Mark A., Edwards, Nicholas P., Sellers, William I., Bergmann, Uwe, Sokaras, Dimosthenis, Alonso-Mori, Roberto, Ignatyev, Konstantin, van Veelen, Arjen, Anné, Jennifer, van Dongen, Bart, Knoll, Fabien, & Manning, Phillip L. The mapping and differentiation of biological and environmental elemental signatures in the fossil remains of a 50 million year old bird. United States. doi:10.1039/C4JA00395K.
Egerton, Victoria M., Wogelius, Roy A., Norell, Mark A., Edwards, Nicholas P., Sellers, William I., Bergmann, Uwe, Sokaras, Dimosthenis, Alonso-Mori, Roberto, Ignatyev, Konstantin, van Veelen, Arjen, Anné, Jennifer, van Dongen, Bart, Knoll, Fabien, and Manning, Phillip L. Thu . "The mapping and differentiation of biological and environmental elemental signatures in the fossil remains of a 50 million year old bird". United States. doi:10.1039/C4JA00395K. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1214947.
@article{osti_1214947,
title = {The mapping and differentiation of biological and environmental elemental signatures in the fossil remains of a 50 million year old bird},
author = {Egerton, Victoria M. and Wogelius, Roy A. and Norell, Mark A. and Edwards, Nicholas P. and Sellers, William I. and Bergmann, Uwe and Sokaras, Dimosthenis and Alonso-Mori, Roberto and Ignatyev, Konstantin and van Veelen, Arjen and Anné, Jennifer and van Dongen, Bart and Knoll, Fabien and Manning, Phillip L.},
abstractNote = {The preservation of fossils reflects the interplay of inorganic and organic chemical processes, which should be clearly differentiated to make interpretations about the biology of extinct organisms. A new coliiformes bird (mouse bird) from the ~50 million year old Green River Formation (Wyoming, USA) has here been analysed using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence and environmental scanning electron microscopy with an attached X-ray energy dispersive system (ESEM-EDS). The concentration and distribution of 16 elements (Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Mg, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Ba, Hg) has been mapped for individual points on the sample. S, Cu and Zn map distinctly within visibly preserved feathers and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) shows that S and Cu within the feathers are organically bound in a similar manner to modern feathers. The morphological preservation of the feathers, on both macro- and microscopic scales, is variable throughout the fossil and the differences in the lateral microfacies have resulted in a morphological preservation gradient. This study clearly differentiates endogenous organic remains from those representing exogenous overprinted geochemical precipitates and illustrates the chemical complexity of the overall taphonomic process.},
doi = {10.1039/C4JA00395K},
journal = {Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry},
number = 3,
volume = 30,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {1}
}

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