Navigation Links
CT scan reveals ancient long-necked gliding reptile


Close up CT scan, composite image of fossil gliding reptile Mecistrotrachelos apeoros. Curved foot and ribs are clearly visible
The fossilized bones of a previously unknown, 220 million-year-old long-necked, gliding reptile may remain forever embedded in stone, but thanks to an industrial-size CT scanner at Penn State's Center for Quantitative Imaging, the bone structure and behavior of these small creatures are now known.

The new gliding reptile is named Mecistrotrachelos apeoros meaning "soaring, long-necked" and was found at the Solite Quarry that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border. The researchers report in today's (June 12) issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that the "new specimens are embedded in a hard dolomitized dark gray, silty mudstone, and only faint impressions of the bones can be seen at the surface. Repeated attempts to remove the matrix using both mechanical and chemical techniques have been unsuccessful."

"The fossils sit on sheets of stone less than a quarter inch thick," says Tim M Ryan, research associate in anthropology and member of Penn State’s Center for Quantitative Imaging. "The color of the bones is the same as the color of the surrounding matrix which makes preparation difficult."

The specimens, which were found by Nick Fraser of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, came to Penn State to be scanned on the specialized CT scanner.

"In some cases, with larger bones, we can see inside the bones," says Ryan. "However, we could not determine the exact morphology of all the appendages because smaller bones were difficult to resolve due to the size of the specimen."

The specimens were scanned at a resolution of about one tenth of a millimeter or less. The researchers could determine that the feet were curved, indicating that the reptiles probably lived in trees.

The resolution of the CT scan is lar gely dependent on the size of the object to be scanned. Because the researchers did not want to cut up the sheet of rock in which the fossilized glider was embedded, they gave up total resolution of all of the bones.

Because this fossil has been identified and named from CT scan, one benefit is that the bones themselves have not been destroyed or even moved. Exact positioning of the bones removes any doubts about joint connections and position. Also, both the fossil specimens and the image data from the scan are preserved and can be reviewed and reanalyzed in the future.

The scans presented to Fraser were not a perfect photograph of the two specimens, rather they were a set of thin slices that had to be processed to obtain information about the animals. Even then, no single slice contained the entire skeleton. Post-scan processing produced an amazingly clear, if somewhat flattened, image of a small reptile with a long neck and swept back wings.

Gliding behavior evolved several times in reptiles and is present in the Indonesian reptile Draco.


'"/>

Source:Penn State


Related biology news :

1. A bacterial genome reveals new targets to combat infectious disease
2. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
3. Examination of internal wiring of yeast, worm, and fly reveals conserved circuits
4. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
5. Study reveals new technique for fingerprinting environmental samples
6. Study reveals dramatic difference between breast cancers in US and Africa
7. UCSD research reveals mechanism involved with type of fatal epilepsy
8. Study reveals candidate targets for anti-retroviral therapeutics
9. Chimp genome reveals a retroviral invasion
10. Survey reveals women and doctors arent talking about HPV
11. Bioinformatics reveals new gene regulation system

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2016)... April 20, 2016 The new ... a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door ... reader or the door interface with integration authorization management ... control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control ... the building installations offer considerable freedom of design with ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016   LegacyXChange, ... "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release its ... to be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed ... will also provide potential shareholders a sense of the ... an industry that is notorious for fraud. The video ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, Utah ... Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume laboratory ... and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing ... announced the launch of a project to establish the ... panel. NSO has been contracted by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 The report "Cryocooler ... Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, Product Repairs & Refurbishment, Preventive ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market ... 2022, at a CAGR of 7.29% between 2016 and ... and 94 Figures spread through 159 Pages and in-depth ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Morris Midwest ( http://www.morrismidwest.com ... regional manufacturers at its Maple Grove, Minnesota technical center, May 11-12. The ... Trumpf. Almost 20 leading suppliers of tooling, accessories, software and other related ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 NanoStruck ... (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt : 8NSK) ... Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 die Genehmigung von ... um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf 400.000.000 Einheiten zu ... bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten mit dem ersten ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... preclinical PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party ... and testing novel treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: