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Re: Bone Marrow Preserved in 10 mya Fossil
I did some digging for a short article to come out in next week's New Scientist.
The fossils actually came from old sulfur mines, and sulfur seeped from the
water into the bone, altering the composition of the organics. Apparently the
adding sulfur slows decay of the organics. It also stiffens them. The fossils
are rigid, not flexible like Mary Schweitzer's T. rex blood vessels. The bones
were intact when fossilized, and the pores were too small to admit bacterial,
although they did let water in. They have carbon and organics, but they don't
have the specific composition yet. Tests for amino acids and DNA are planned.
I'd bet this had something to do with the preservation environment, but there's
a reasonable chance there are other bones with similar preservation. They found
the fossil marrow structures in about 10% of the bones they studied. The paper
comes out in the August Geology. -- Jeff Hecht
At 6:51 PM -0600 7/27/06, franklin e. bliss wrote:
>Bad taste in my mouth here. Thuuuuph thzzzz..... If the original color of
>the bone marrow (The soft, fatty, vascular tissue that fills most bone
>cavities and is the source of red blood cells and many white blood cells.) is
>still visible and the material is essentially unchanged, it may indeed
>technically be fossilized (Def: All the processes that involve the burial of
>a plant or animal in sediment and the eventual preservation of all, part, or a
>trace of it.) I think however it is stretching the usage being preserved
>without replacement or substitution of the original material by some process
>other than isolation from degrading influences. Apparently these were
>preserved in a non-permeable, oxygen free, bacterial free environment.
>Extrapolating metaphorically,..... a bone buried a week by a flood and then
>dug up is a fossil. My question is, is the stuff just dried out and thusly
>preserved for 10 million years or is it in fact "fossilized" ? Opinion? Maybe
>I am just splitting
hairs with a razor.
>I can see the discussion of resurrected fossil stem cells now to regenerate a
>missing fossil appendage. If a piece of the fossil is missing, just grow it
>Frank (Rooster) Bliss
>21.8647% of all statistics are made up at the time
>On Jul 27, 2006, at 3:40 PM, Richard W. Travsky wrote:
>> 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.
Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer
Boston Correspondent: New Scientist magazine
Contributing Editor: Laser Focus World
525 Auburn St., Auburndale, MA 02466 USA
v. 617-965-3834; fax 617-332-4760