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Molecular preservation of the pigment melanin in fossil melanosomes.

Lindgren, Johan LU ; Uvdal, Per LU ; Sjövall, Peter; Nilsson, Dan-E LU ; Engdahl, Anders LU ; Schultz, Bo Pagh and Thiel, Volker (2012) In Nature Communications 3(Online 08 May 2012).
Abstract
Fossil feathers, hairs and eyes are regularly preserved as carbonized traces comprised of masses of micrometre-sized bodies that are spherical, oblate or elongate in shape. For a long time, these minute structures were regarded as the remains of biofilms of keratinophilic bacteria, but recently they have been reinterpreted as melanosomes; that is, colour-bearing organelles. Resolving this fundamental difference in interpretation is crucial: if endogenous then the fossil microbodies would represent a significant advancement in the fields of palaeontology and evolutionary biology given, for example, the possibility to reconstruct integumentary colours and plumage colour patterns. It has previously been shown that certain trace elements occur... (More)
Fossil feathers, hairs and eyes are regularly preserved as carbonized traces comprised of masses of micrometre-sized bodies that are spherical, oblate or elongate in shape. For a long time, these minute structures were regarded as the remains of biofilms of keratinophilic bacteria, but recently they have been reinterpreted as melanosomes; that is, colour-bearing organelles. Resolving this fundamental difference in interpretation is crucial: if endogenous then the fossil microbodies would represent a significant advancement in the fields of palaeontology and evolutionary biology given, for example, the possibility to reconstruct integumentary colours and plumage colour patterns. It has previously been shown that certain trace elements occur in fossils as organometallic compounds, and hence may be used as biomarkers for melanin pigments. Here we expand this knowledge by demonstrating the presence of molecularly preserved melanin in intimate association with melanosome-like microbodies isolated from an argentinoid fish eye from the early Eocene of Denmark. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nature Communications
volume
3
issue
Online 08 May 2012
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • wos:000304611400020
  • pmid:22569368
  • scopus:84864308441
ISSN
2041-1723
DOI
10.1038/ncomms1819
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e477a5f0-83c2-41d1-8339-548a00f9c8be (old id 2608998)
date added to LUP
2012-06-04 15:56:48
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:58:49
@article{e477a5f0-83c2-41d1-8339-548a00f9c8be,
  abstract     = {Fossil feathers, hairs and eyes are regularly preserved as carbonized traces comprised of masses of micrometre-sized bodies that are spherical, oblate or elongate in shape. For a long time, these minute structures were regarded as the remains of biofilms of keratinophilic bacteria, but recently they have been reinterpreted as melanosomes; that is, colour-bearing organelles. Resolving this fundamental difference in interpretation is crucial: if endogenous then the fossil microbodies would represent a significant advancement in the fields of palaeontology and evolutionary biology given, for example, the possibility to reconstruct integumentary colours and plumage colour patterns. It has previously been shown that certain trace elements occur in fossils as organometallic compounds, and hence may be used as biomarkers for melanin pigments. Here we expand this knowledge by demonstrating the presence of molecularly preserved melanin in intimate association with melanosome-like microbodies isolated from an argentinoid fish eye from the early Eocene of Denmark.},
  articleno    = {824},
  author       = {Lindgren, Johan and Uvdal, Per and Sjövall, Peter and Nilsson, Dan-E and Engdahl, Anders and Schultz, Bo Pagh and Thiel, Volker},
  issn         = {2041-1723},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {Online 08 May 2012},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Communications},
  title        = {Molecular preservation of the pigment melanin in fossil melanosomes.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1819},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2012},
}