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:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017  higi, the health IT company that operates ... America , today announced a Series B investment ... EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy ... transform population health activities through the collection and workflow ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf of ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... Vehicle Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... be demonstrating its new Bioflash MailGuardtm mail security screening solution at the National ... The Bioflash MailGuard system provides a fast, highly accurate, easy to use and ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... , ... As part of the Stago EdVantage Virtual University Virtual ... in order to illuminate this clinical problem for people unfamiliar with the topic. , ... a high degree of morbidity and mortality. DIC is a confusing disorder from both ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... & Rehabilitation, P.A. , proudly announced today that acclaimed physiatrist Matthew Terzella, MD, ... on May 15, 2017. , Dr. Terzella completed his residency in Physical Medicine ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 24, 2017  Dante Labs announced today the offer of ... (ca. $900). While American individuals have been able to access ... can access WGS below EUR 1,000. The sequencing ... genetic information to make informed decisions about disease monitoring, prevention, ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: