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Bone Marrow Preserved in 10 mya Fossil

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060725-fossil-bone.html July 25, 2006

Fossilized bone marrow has been discovered in ten-million-year-old frogs and salamanders from an ancient lake bed in Spain, scientists announced Friday.

The specimens are the first examples of fossilized bone marrow ever to be discovered. They are so well preserved that the original color of the tissue is still visible.

An international team of paleontologists, spearheaded by Maria McNamara of Ireland's University College Dublin, made the find while studying the remains of more than a hundred ancient frogs and salamanders.

The discovery suggests that many other fossil bones may contain well-preserved remnants of bone marrow, the scientists say.
"The marrow is organically preserved," McNamara said. "The original color of the marrow is preserved."
The finding is "very interesting," said John Horner, curator of paleontology at Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.
The next step, McNamara says, is to determine what the fossilized marrow is made of.

"We have started the analysis, but we're not finished," she said.

The fact that part of the marrow is red, however, makes it likely that it carries some of the original biological materials, such as remnants of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance that gives blood cells their color.