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Biochemistry and adaptive colouration of an exceptionally preserved juvenile fossil sea turtle

Lindgren, Johan LU ; Kuriyama, Takeo LU ; Madsen, Henrik; Sjövall, Peter; Zheng, Wenxia; Uvdal, Per LU ; Engdahl, Anders LU ; Moyer, Alison; Gren, Johan LU and Kamezaki, Naoki, et al. (2017) In Scientific Reports 7(13324).
Abstract
The holotype (MHM-K2) of the Eocene cheloniine Tasbacka danica is arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record. Notwithstanding compactional flattening, the specimen is virtually intact, comprising a fully articulated skeleton exposed in dorsal view. MHM-K2 also preserves, with great fidelity, soft tissue traces visible as a sharply delineated carbon film around the bones and marginal scutes along the edge of the carapace. Here we show that the extraordinary preservation of the type of T. danica goes beyond gross morphology to include ultrastructural details and labile molecular components of the once-living animal. Haemoglobin-derived compounds, eumelanic pigments and proteinaceous materials retaining the... (More)
The holotype (MHM-K2) of the Eocene cheloniine Tasbacka danica is arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record. Notwithstanding compactional flattening, the specimen is virtually intact, comprising a fully articulated skeleton exposed in dorsal view. MHM-K2 also preserves, with great fidelity, soft tissue traces visible as a sharply delineated carbon film around the bones and marginal scutes along the edge of the carapace. Here we show that the extraordinary preservation of the type of T. danica goes beyond gross morphology to include ultrastructural details and labile molecular components of the once-living animal. Haemoglobin-derived compounds, eumelanic pigments and proteinaceous materials retaining the immunological characteristics of sauropsid-specific β-keratin and tropomyosin were detected in tissues containing remnant melanosomes and decayed keratin plates. The preserved organics represent condensed remains of the cornified epidermis and, likely also, deeper anatomical features, and provide direct chemical evidence that adaptive melanism – a biological means used by extant sea turtle hatchlings to elevate metabolic and growth rates – had evolved 54 million years ago. (Less)
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Scientific Reports
volume
7
issue
13324
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85031824970
  • wos:000413084800021
ISSN
2045-2322
DOI
10.1038/s41598-017-13187-5
language
English
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yes
id
714eafe9-ecda-463c-950c-6bf8b32ce9c8
date added to LUP
2017-10-24 13:18:14
date last changed
2018-04-29 04:43:13
@article{714eafe9-ecda-463c-950c-6bf8b32ce9c8,
  abstract     = {The holotype (MHM-K2) of the Eocene cheloniine Tasbacka danica is arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record. Notwithstanding compactional flattening, the specimen is virtually intact, comprising a fully articulated skeleton exposed in dorsal view. MHM-K2 also preserves, with great fidelity, soft tissue traces visible as a sharply delineated carbon film around the bones and marginal scutes along the edge of the carapace. Here we show that the extraordinary preservation of the type of T. danica goes beyond gross morphology to include ultrastructural details and labile molecular components of the once-living animal. Haemoglobin-derived compounds, eumelanic pigments and proteinaceous materials retaining the immunological characteristics of sauropsid-specific β-keratin and tropomyosin were detected in tissues containing remnant melanosomes and decayed keratin plates. The preserved organics represent condensed remains of the cornified epidermis and, likely also, deeper anatomical features, and provide direct chemical evidence that adaptive melanism – a biological means used by extant sea turtle hatchlings to elevate metabolic and growth rates – had evolved 54 million years ago.},
  articleno    = {13324},
  author       = {Lindgren, Johan and Kuriyama, Takeo and Madsen, Henrik and Sjövall, Peter and Zheng, Wenxia and Uvdal, Per and Engdahl, Anders and Moyer, Alison and Gren, Johan and Kamezaki,  Naoki and Ueno, Shintaro and Higby Schweitzer, Mary},
  issn         = {2045-2322},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {13324},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Scientific Reports},
  title        = {Biochemistry and adaptive colouration of an exceptionally preserved juvenile fossil sea turtle},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13187-5},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}