Paris, 29 January 2014

Using rare earths to interpret certain fossils

Until now, interpreting flattened fossils was a major challenge. Now, a new approach for the analysis of such fossils has been developed by a team bringing together researchers from the IPANEMA unit (CNRS / French Ministry of Culture and Communication), the Centre de Recherche sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements (CNRS / MNHN / UPMC) and the SOLEIL synchrotron. This non-destructive method makes use of chemical elements known as rare earths. By locating and quantifying such elements in trace amounts, it is possible to improve interpretation of fossil morphology. This enabled the researchers to describe not only the anatomy but also the environment of preservation of three fossils of Cretaceous age. Published on 29 January in the journal Plos One, the work should facilitate the interpretation of many flattened fossils, especially those that are exceptionally well conserved.

To download the press release : IPANEMA


Trace elemental imaging of rare earth elements discriminates tissues at microscale in flat fossils, Pierre Gueriau, Cristian Mocuta, Didier B. Dutheil, Serge X. Cohen, Dominique Thiaudière, The OT1 consortium, Sylvain Charbonnier, Gaël Clément & Loïc Bertrand. PLoS ONE, 29 January 2014.


Researcher l Loïc Bertrand l T +33 1 69 35 90 09 l
CNRS Press Office l Priscilla Dacher l T +33 1 44 96 46 06 l


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