[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Preservation of dinosaur biological structures (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Sergio Bertazzo, Susannah C. R. Maidment, Charalambos Kallepitis,
Sarah Fearn, Molly M. Stevens & Hai-nan Xie (2015)
Fibres and cellular structures preserved in 75-million–year-old
dinosaur specimens.
Nature Communications 6, Article number: 7352 doi:10.1038/ncomms8352
doi: 10.1038/ncomms8352

Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the
vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such
soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples
from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques;
the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external
indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures
consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ~67 nm
banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original
quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments
typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures
consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra
similar to emu whole blood. Using advanced material characterization
approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be
well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is
more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over
geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate
relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.


Soft tissue from vertebrate fossils has previously been documented,
but only in exceptionally preserved specimens. Here, Bertazzo et al.
describe structures consistent with collagen fibres and red blood
cells from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones, none of which are
exceptionally preserved.