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Pterosaur headcrest preservation by bacteria



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:



Pinheiro, F.L., Horn, B.L.D., Schultz, C.L., de Andrade, J.A.F.G. and
Sucerquia, P.A (2012)
Fossilized bacteria in a Cretaceous pterosaur headcrest.
Lethaia (advance online publication).
DOI: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2012.00309.x.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1502-3931.2012.00309.x/abstract



We report herein the first evidence of bacterial autolithification in
the Crato Formation of Araripe Basin, Brazil. The fossilized bacteria
are associated with a tapejarid pterosaur skull, replacing the
soft-tissue extension of the headcrest. EDS analyses indicate that the
bacteria were replaced by phosphate minerals, probably apatite. The
bacterial biofilm was likely part of the prokaryotic mat that
decomposed the pterosaur carcass at the bottom of the Araripe lagoon.
This work suggests that bacterial autolithification could have played
a key-role on soft-tissue preservation of Crato Formation Lagerstätte.