Advanced

Interpreting melanin-based coloration through deep time: a critical review.

Lindgren, Johan LU ; Moyer, Alison; Higby Schweitzer, Mary LU ; Sjövall, Peter; Uvdal, Per LU ; Nilsson, Dan-E LU ; Heimdal, Jimmy LU ; Engdahl, Anders; Gren, Johan LU and Schultz, Bo Pagh, et al. (2015) In Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences 282(1813).
Abstract
Colour, derived primarily from melanin and/or carotenoid pigments, is integral to many aspects of behaviour in living vertebrates, including social signalling, sexual display and crypsis. Thus, identifying biochromes in extinct animals can shed light on the acquisition and evolution of these biological traits. Both eumelanin and melanin-containing cellular organelles (melanosomes) are preserved in fossils, but recognizing traces of ancient melanin-based coloration is fraught with interpretative ambiguity, especially when observations are based on morphological evidence alone. Assigning microbodies (or, more often reported, their 'mouldic impressions') as melanosome traces without adequately excluding a bacterial origin is also problematic... (More)
Colour, derived primarily from melanin and/or carotenoid pigments, is integral to many aspects of behaviour in living vertebrates, including social signalling, sexual display and crypsis. Thus, identifying biochromes in extinct animals can shed light on the acquisition and evolution of these biological traits. Both eumelanin and melanin-containing cellular organelles (melanosomes) are preserved in fossils, but recognizing traces of ancient melanin-based coloration is fraught with interpretative ambiguity, especially when observations are based on morphological evidence alone. Assigning microbodies (or, more often reported, their 'mouldic impressions') as melanosome traces without adequately excluding a bacterial origin is also problematic because microbes are pervasive and intimately involved in organismal degradation. Additionally, some forms synthesize melanin. In this review, we survey both vertebrate and microbial melanization, and explore the conflicts influencing assessment of microbodies preserved in association with ancient animal soft tissues. We discuss the types of data used to interpret fossil melanosomes and evaluate whether these are sufficient for definitive diagnosis. Finally, we outline an integrated morphological and geochemical approach for detecting endogenous pigment remains and associated microstructures in multimillion-year-old fossils. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
, et al. (More)
(Less)
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
volume
282
issue
1813
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • pmid:26290071
  • wos:000362050000001
  • scopus:84940094734
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2015.0614
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
02a4e584-62c7-40c4-a01b-e48a2dd560d7 (old id 7840553)
date added to LUP
2015-09-10 20:12:00
date last changed
2017-10-29 03:10:23
@article{02a4e584-62c7-40c4-a01b-e48a2dd560d7,
  abstract     = {Colour, derived primarily from melanin and/or carotenoid pigments, is integral to many aspects of behaviour in living vertebrates, including social signalling, sexual display and crypsis. Thus, identifying biochromes in extinct animals can shed light on the acquisition and evolution of these biological traits. Both eumelanin and melanin-containing cellular organelles (melanosomes) are preserved in fossils, but recognizing traces of ancient melanin-based coloration is fraught with interpretative ambiguity, especially when observations are based on morphological evidence alone. Assigning microbodies (or, more often reported, their 'mouldic impressions') as melanosome traces without adequately excluding a bacterial origin is also problematic because microbes are pervasive and intimately involved in organismal degradation. Additionally, some forms synthesize melanin. In this review, we survey both vertebrate and microbial melanization, and explore the conflicts influencing assessment of microbodies preserved in association with ancient animal soft tissues. We discuss the types of data used to interpret fossil melanosomes and evaluate whether these are sufficient for definitive diagnosis. Finally, we outline an integrated morphological and geochemical approach for detecting endogenous pigment remains and associated microstructures in multimillion-year-old fossils.},
  articleno    = {20150614},
  author       = {Lindgren, Johan and Moyer, Alison and Higby Schweitzer, Mary and Sjövall, Peter and Uvdal, Per and Nilsson, Dan-E and Heimdal, Jimmy and Engdahl, Anders and Gren, Johan and Schultz, Bo Pagh and Kear, Benjamin P},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1813},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Interpreting melanin-based coloration through deep time: a critical review.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.0614},
  volume       = {282},
  year         = {2015},
}