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Scientists could be set to reveal the most accurate depictions of ancient vertebrates ever made after a world-first discovery at University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland.
UCC palaeontologists have discovered a new way to reconstruct the anatomy of ancient vertebrate animals, analyzing the chemistry of fossilized melanosomes from internal organs.
Study - Today - Proceedings - National - Academy
The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, was led by UCC's Valentina Rossi and her supervisor Dr. Maria McNamara in collaboration with an international team of chemists from the US and Japan.
The team used cutting-edge synchrotron techniques to analyze the chemistry of the fossil and modern melanosomes using X-rays, allowing them to peer inside the anatomy of fossils and uncover hidden features.
Studies - Fossil - Melanin - Skin - Feathers
Until recently, most studies on fossil melanin have focused on the skin and feathers, whereas here the pigment is linked to visible color. Unexpectedly, the new study also showed that melanin is abundant in internal organs of modern amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and their fossil counterparts.
"This discovery is remarkable in that it opens up a new avenue for reconstructing...
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