Jung-Kyun Kim, Yong-Eun Kwon, Sang-Gil Lee, Chang-Yeon Kim, Jin-Gyu Kim, Min Huh, Eunji Lee & Youn-Joong Kim (2017)
Correlative microscopy of the constituents of a dinosaur rib fossil and hosting mudstone: Implications on diagenesis and fossil preservation.
PLoS ONE12(10): e0186600
We have applied correlative microscopy to identify the key constituents of a dorsal rib fossil from Koreanosaurus boseongensis and its hosting mudstone discovered at the rich fossil site in Boseong, South Korea, to investigate the factors that likely contributed to diagenesis and the preservation of fossil bone. Calcite and illite were the commonly occurring phases in the rib bone, hosting mudstone, and the boundary region in-between. The boundary region may have contributed to bone preservation once it fully formed by acting as a protective shell. Fluorapatite crystals in the rib bone matrix signified diagenetic alteration of the original bioapatite crystals. While calcite predominantly occupied vascular channels and cracks, platy illite crystals widely occupied miniscule pores throughout the bone matrix. Thorough transmission electron microscopy (TEM) study of illite within the bone matrix indicated the solid-state transformation of 1M to 2M without composition change, which was more evident from the lateral variation of 1M to 2M within the same layer. The high level of lattice disordering of 2M illite suggested an early stage of 1M to 2M transformation. Thus, the diagenetic alteration of both apatite and illite crystals within the bone matrix may have increased its overall density, as the preferred orientation of apatite crystals from moderate to strong degrees was evident despite the poor preservation of osteohistological features. The combined effects of rapid burial, formation of a boundary region, and diagenesis of illite and apatite within the bone matrix may have contributed to the rib bone preservation.