How Do the Early Processes of Fossilization Affect the Chemistry of Bones and Teeth? – #365papers – 2017 – 41

#365papers for February 10, 2017

Tutken, Vennemann, and Pfretzschner, 2008, Early diagenesis of bone and tooth apatite in fluvial and marine settings: Constraints from combined oxygen isotope, nitrogen and REE analysis: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 266, p. 254-268.

What’s it about?

This paper discusses how we can determine how altered a geochemical signal in a fossil bone or tooth might be, comparing bones and teeth that fossilized in both freshwater (river) and marine (ocean) environments. The authors used collagen content, nitrogen content, and the abundance of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) to attempt to estimate alteration. Continue reading

The Effects of Fossilization on Bones – #365papers – 2017 – 37

#365papers for February 6, 2017

Keenan, Engel, Roy, and Bovenkamp-Langlois, 2015, Evaluating the consequences of diagenesis and fossilization on bioapatite lattice structure and composition: Chemical Geology, v. 413, p. 18-27.

What’s it about?

Translating the title into English explains what the paper is about:

When bones and teeth fossilize, their mineral component (bioapatite) changes its crystal shape and size as well as undergoes some chemical changes. How big of a problem is that if you are trying to use the chemistry of the fossil to understand the life and environment of the animal? Continue reading

Rare Earth Elements in Conodont Apatite – #365papers – 2017 – 30

#365papers for January 30, 2017

Zhang, Algeo, Cao, Zhao, Chen, and Li, 2016, Diagenetic uptake of rare earth elements by conodont apatite: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 458, p. 176-197.

What’s it about?

Rare earth elements (REEs) are heavy elements that are uncommon in bones and teeth (composed of bioapatite mineral) in the living animal, but that are often concentrated in the mineral matrix during fossilization. In the past, REEs in conodont bioapatite were thought to be a good record of the REE content of the ocean waters in which they swam. Continue reading