Navigation Links
Unexpected exoskeleton remnants found in Paleozoic fossils
Date:2/7/2011

Washington, D.C.Surprising new research shows that, contrary to conventional belief, remains of chitin-protein complexstructural materials containing protein and polysaccharideare present in abundance in fossils of arthropods from the Paleozoic era. Previously the oldest molecular signature of chitin-protein complex was discovered in 25 million year old Cenozoic fossils and remnants of structural protein have also been discovered in 80 million-year-old Mesozoic fossils. Carnegie's George Cody and an international team of scientists discovered relicts of protein-chitin complex in fossils of arthropods from the Paleozoic era. Their findings, published online by Geology, could have major implications for our understanding of the organic fossil record.

Among other common features, arthropods have exoskeletons, or cuticles. The outer portions of these cuticles are made up of a composite of chitin fibers, which are embedded in a matrix of protein. It is well known that chitin and structural protein are easily degraded by microorganisms and it has long been believed that chitin and structural proteins would not be present in fossils of moderate age, let alone in fossils dating back to the early Paleozoic.

Cody and his team studied fossil remains of a 310-million-year-old scorpion cuticle from northern Illinois and a 417-million-year-old eurypteridan extinct scorpion-like arthropod, possibly related to horseshoe crabsfrom Ontario, Canada. Using sophisticated analytical instrument at the Advanced Light Source facility, the research team measured the absorption spectra of low-energy X-rays by carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in the fossils. These measurements were taken at a resolution on the order of 25 nanometers. The researchers showed that the majority of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen found in these fossils from the Paleozoic era were derived from a protein-chitin complex. Not surprisingly, the protein-chitin material was somewhat degraded, either by chemical processes or partial bacterial degradation.

Cody speculates that the vestigial protein-chitin complex may play a critical role in organic fossil preservation by providing a substrate protected from total degradation by a coating waxy substances that protect the arthropods from desiccation.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Cody
gcody@ciw.edu
202-478-8980
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New research reveals unexpected biological pathway in glaucoma
2. Unexpected findings of lead exposure may lead to treating blindness
3. Land evapotranspiration taking unexpected turn: huge parts of world are drying up
4. Waters unexpected role in blood pressure control
5. Unexpectedly high rate of multiple strains in fungal infection
6. Sonic hedgehog gene found in an unexpected place during limb development
7. Study reveals H1N1 unexpected weakness
8. Research reveals lipids unexpected role in triggering death of brain cells
9. Study points to new uses, unexpected side effects of already existing drugs
10. New study reveals unexpected relationship between climate warming and advancing treelines
11. 1-finger exercise reveals unexpected limits to dexterity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... CHICAGO , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can ... weight, pulse and body mass index, and, when they ... quick and convenient visit to a local retail location ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 --> ... Transparency Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global ... 2023," the global digital door lock systems market in terms ... and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% ... and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cambridge Semantics, the ... technology, today announced that it has been named to The Silicon Review’s “20 Fastest ... and other markets, Cambridge Semantics serves the needs of end users facing some of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , ... UTHR ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt ... Therapeutics will provide an overview and update on the ... Annual Health Care Conference. The presentation will ... a.m. Eastern Time, and can be accessed via a ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO ... is the founder of GSCG affiliate Kimera Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross ... stem cell transplantation for hematologic disorders and the suppression of graft vs. host disease ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2016 , ... ... today announced that Ardy Arianpour has joined the company as Chief Business Officer. ... experience bringing innovative genomic technologies to market, was most recently Chief Commercial Officer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: