Using light to describe the ancient world

Edwards and colleague have described preserved organic material in the skin of a 50 million year old lizard

Nick Edwards and coauthors have just published a description of compounds from the skin of an Eocene reptile from Green River Formation, USA. Using a bevy of techniques, including Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, synchrotron x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and x-ray diffractometry, Edwards and colleagues describe residual “…amide and sulphur compounds…[that] are most probably derived from the original beta keratin in the skin…”, as well as copper concentrations comparable to modern day geckos. You can find the article at here

N.P. Edwards, H.E. Barden, B.E. van Dongen, P.L. Manning, P.L. Larson, U. Bergmann, W.I. Sellers and R.A. Wogelius (2011) Infrared mapping resolves soft-tissue preservation in 50 million year old reptile skin. Proc. R. Soc. B. Published online 23rd March. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.0135

Image from Wikipedia


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