Applied Physics A

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 147–155 | Cite as

Mapping prehistoric ghosts in the synchrotron

  • N. P. Edwards
  • R. A. Wogelius
  • U. Bergmann
  • P. Larson
  • W. I. Sellers
  • P. L. Manning
Article

Abstract

The detailed chemical analysis of fossils has the potential to reveal great insight to the composition, preservation and biochemistry of ancient life. Such analyses would ideally identify, quantify, and spatially resolve the chemical composition of preserved bone and soft tissue structures, but also the embedding matrix. Mapping the chemistry of a fossil in situ can place constraints on mass transfer between the enclosing matrix and the preserved organism(s), and therefore aid in distinguishing taphonomic processes from original chemical zonation remnant within the fossils themselves. Conventional analytical methods, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) have serious limitations in this case, primarily, an inability to provide large (i.e., decimeter) scale chemical maps. Additionally, vacuum chamber size and the need for destructive sampling preclude analysis of large and precious fossil specimens. However, the recent development of Synchrotron Rapid Scanning X-ray Fluorescence (SRS-XRF) at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) allows the non-destructive chemical analysis and imaging of major, minor, and trace element concentrations of large paleontological and archeological specimens in rapid scanning times. Here we present elemental maps of a fossil reptile produced using the new SRS-XRF method. Our results unequivocally show that preserved biological structures are not simply impressions or carbonized remains, but possess a remnant of the original organismal biochemistry. We show that SRS-XRF is a powerful new tool for the study of paleontological and archaeological samples.

Keywords

Synchrotron SRS-XRF X-Ray fluorescence Green river formation 

References

  1. 1.
    C. Hardison, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93, 5675–5679 (1996) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    K.E. van Holde, K.I. Miller, H. Decker, J. Biol. Chem. 276, 15563–15566 (2001) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    P.H. Abelson, Science 119, 576 (1954) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    P.H. Abelson, Sci. Am. 195, 83–92 (1956) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    N.J. Butterfield, Paleobiology 16, 272–286 (1990) Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    J.J. Brocks, G.A. Logan, R. Buick, R.E. Summons, Science 285, 1033–1036 (1999) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.J. Brocks, R. Buick, R.E. Summons, G.A. Logan, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 67, 4321–4335 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. Treibs, Justus Liebigs Ann. Chem. 510, 42–62 (1934) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    G. Eglinton, P.M. Scott, T. Belsky, A.L. Burlingame, M. Calvin, Science 145, 263–264 (1964) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    B. Tissot, G. Deroo, A. Hood, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 42, 1469–1485 (1978) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    B. Tissot, D.H. Welte, Petroleum Formation and Occurrence (Springer, Berlin, 1984) Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    P.H. Ostrom, S.A. Macko, M.H. Engel, J.A. Silfer, D. Russell, Org. Geochem. 16, 1139–1144 (1990) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    E.A. Cobabe, L.M. Pratt, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59, 87–95 (1995) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    H. Bocherens, M.L. Fogel, N. Tuross, M. Zeder, J. Archaeol. Sci. 22, 327–340 (1995) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    T.H. O’Donnell, S.A. Macko, J. Chou, K.L. Davis-Hartten, J.F. Wehmiller, Org. Geochem. 34, 165–183 (2003) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    M.H. Schweitzer, R. Avci, T. Collier, M.B. Goodwin, C. R., Palévol 7, 159–184 (2008) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    M.M.W. Ulrich, W.R.K. Perizonius, C.F. Spoor, P. Sandberg, C. Vermeer, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 149, 712–719 (1987) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    J.M. Lowenstein, G. Scheuenstuhl, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 333, 375–380 (1991) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    G. Muyzer, P. Sandberg, M.H.J. Knapen, C. Vermeer, M. Collins, P. Westbroek, Geology 20, 871–874 (1992) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    N. Tuross, L. Stathoplos, Molecular Evolution: Producing the Biochemical Data 224, 121–129 (1993) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    S.R. Woodward, N.J. Weyand, M. Bunnell, Science 266, 1229–1232 (1994) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    M.J. Collins, M.S. Riley, A.M. Child, G. Turnerwalker, J. Archaeol. Sci. 22, 175–183 (1995) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    R.P. Evershed, G. Turnerwalker, R.E.M. Hedges, N. Tuross, A. Leyden, J. Archaeol. Sci. 22, 277–290 (1995) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    B.A. Stankiewicz, D.E.G. Briggs, R.P. Evershed, Energy Fuels 11, 515–521 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    B.A. Stankiewicz, D.E.G. Briggs, R.P. Evershed, M.B. Flannery, M. Wuttke, Science 276, 1541–1543 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    M.H. Schweitzer, J.A. Watt, R. Avci, C.A. Forster, D.W. Krause, L. Knapp, R.R. Rogers, I. Beech, M. Marshall, J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 19, 712–722 (1999) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    R. Avci, M.H. Schweitzer, R.D. Boyd, J.L. Wittmeyer, F.T. Arce, J.O. Calvo, Langmuir 21, 3584–3590 (2005) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    J.M. Asara, M.H. Schweitzer, L.M. Freimark, M. Phillips, L.C. Cantley, Science 316, 280–285 (2007) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    P.L. Manning, P.M. Morris, A. McMahon, E. Jones, A. Gize, J.H.S. Macquaker, G. Wolff, A. Thompson, J. Marshall, K.G. Taylor, T. Lyson, S. Gaskell, O. Reamtong, W.I. Sellers, B.E. van Dongen, M. Buckley, R.A. Wogelius, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 276, 3429–3437 (2009) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    K. Lepot, K. Benzerara, G.E. Brown, P. Philippot, Nat. Geosci. 1, 118–121 (2008) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    N.S. Gupta, D.E.G. Briggs, M.E. Collinson, R.P. Evershed, R. Michels, R.D. Pancost, Org. Geochem. 38, 404–418 (2007) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    M.W. Allaird, D. Young, Y. Huyen, Science 268, 1192 (1995) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    M. Buckley, A. Walker, S.Y.W. Ho, Y. Yang, C. Smith, P. Ashton, J.T. Oates, E. Cappellini, H. Koon, K. Penkman, B. Elsworth, D. Ashford, C. Solazzo, P. Andrews, J. Strahler, B. Shapiro, P. Ostrom, H. Gandhi, W. Miller, B. Raney, M.I. Zylber, M.T.P. Gilbert, R.V. Prigodich, M. Ryan, K.F. Rijsdijk, A. Janoo, M.J. Collins, Science 319 (2008) Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    R.W. Morton, K.C. Witherspoon, in Advances in X-Ray Analysis, vol. 36, ed. by J.V. Gilfrich, T.C. Huang, C.R. Hubbard, M.R. James, R. Jenkins, G.R. Lachance, D.K. Smith, P.K. Predecki (Plenum, New York, 1993), pp. 97–104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    G.J. Havrilla, R.W. Morton, T.C. Miller, K.G. Huntley, 52nd Annual Denver X-Ray Conference Abstracts, vol. 212 (2003) Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    U. Bergmann, R.W. Morton, P.L. Manning, W.I. Sellers, S. Farrar, K.G. Huntley, R.A. Wogelius, P. Larson, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 9060–9065 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    S.J.B. Reed, Electron Microprobe Analysis and Scanning Electron Microscopy in Geology, 2nd edn. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    B.F.G. Popescu, M.J. George, U. Bergmann, A.V. Garachtchenko, M.E. Kelly, R.P.E. McCrea, K. Luning, R.M. Devon, G.N. George, A.D. Hanson, S.M. Harder, L.D. Chapman, I.J. Pickering, H. Nichol, Phys. Med. Biol. 54, 651–663 (2009) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    U. Bergmann, Phys. World 20, 39–42 (2007) Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    R.A. Wogelius, P.L. Manning, H.E. Barden, N.P. Edwards, S.M. Webb, W.I. Sellers, K.G. Taylor, P.L. Larson, P. Dodson, H. You, L. Da-qing, U. Bergmann, Science 333, 1622–1626 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    N.P. Edwards, H.E. Barden, B.E. van Dongen, P.L. Manning, P.L. Larson, U. Bergmann, W.I. Sellers, R.A. Wogelius, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 278, 3209–3218 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    M.E. Wright, Nature 435, 257 (2005) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    R.F. Service, Science 313, 744 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    L. Hou, L.D. Martin, Z. Zhou, A. Feduccia, F. Zhang, Nature 399, 679–682 (1999) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    M.C. Linder, Biochemistry of Copper, vol. 10 (Springer, Amsterdam, 1991) Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    J.D. Simon, D. Peles, K. Wakamatsu, S. Ito, Pigment Cell & Melanoma Res. 22, 563–579 (2009) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Palumbo, M. d’Ischia, G. Misuraca, G. Prota, T.M. Schultz, Biochim. Biophys. Acta G, Gen. Subj. 964, 193–199 (1988) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    S. Larsson, Pigment Cell Res. 6, 127–133 (1993) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    K.J. McGraw, Oikos 102, 402–406 (2003) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    M. Niecke, M. Heid, A. Kruger, J. Ornithol. 140, 355–362 (1999) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    L. Grande, Paleontology of the Green River Formation, with a Review of the Fish Fauna, 2nd edn. (The Geological Survey, Wyoming, 1984) Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    J.L. Conrad, J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 26, 113–126 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    C.N. Trueman, D.M. Martill, Archaeometry 44, 371–382 (2002) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    C.N. Trueman, N. Tuross, in Phosphates—Geochemical, Geobiological and Materials Importance, vol. 48, ed. by M.J. Kohn, J. Rakovan, J.M. Hughes (Min. Soc. Am., Washington, 2002), pp. 489–521 Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    J.C. Elliott, in Phosphates—Geochemical, Geobiological and Materials Importance, vol. 48, ed. by M.J. Kohn, J. Rakovan, J.M. Hughes (Min. Soc. Am., Washington, 2002), pp. 427–453 Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    M.J. Kohn, T.E. Cerling, in Phosphates—Geochemical, Geobiological and Materials Importance, vol. 48, ed. by M.J. Kohn, J. Rakovan, J.M. Hughes (Min. Soc. Am., Washington, 2002), pp. 455–488 Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    S. Weiner, P. Price, Calcif. Tissue Int. 39, 365–375 (1986) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    J.O. Nriagu, Hydrobiologia 106, 217–222 (1983) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    M.J. Collins, C.M. Nielsen-Marsh, J. Hiller, C.I. Smith, J.P. Roberts, R.V. Prigodich, T.J. Weiss, J. Csapo, A.R. Millard, G. Turner-Walker, Archaeometry 44, 383–394 (2002) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    J.L. Conrad, O. Rieppel, L. Grande, J. Paleontol. 81, 1365–1373 (2007) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. P. Edwards
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. A. Wogelius
    • 1
    • 2
  • U. Bergmann
    • 3
  • P. Larson
    • 5
  • W. I. Sellers
    • 4
  • P. L. Manning
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Earth, Atmospheric, and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental ScienceUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Linac Coherent Light SourceSLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryMenlo ParkUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  5. 5.Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc.Hill CityUSA
  6. 6.Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations