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Bone Marrow Preserved in 10 mya Fossil
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
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
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