A few "cuttings" relating to my research work over the years
SCIENCE Volume 308, Number 5721, Issue of 22 April 2005
©2005 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Perfectly preserved in silica, feathers and all, this 3D fossil depicts an American coot that met its death in one of Yellowstone National Park's hot springs between 5000 and 10,000 years ago. The bird, discovered by taphonomist Alan Channing of the University of Cardiff, Wales, and colleagues, is the first avian fossil to be found in a hot spring and one of the few vertebrates.
Cryogenic processes in dutch
PHOTO CREDIT: ALAN CHANNING/CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
The coot in dutch
fossils are rare, says Channing, because "soft tissues get destroyed
very quickly" by microbes and chemicals in the springs. But in the case
of the coot, corpse-colonizing microbes appear to have sped up a process
of encrustation from the surrounding silica, leaving a perfect cast of
the bird, the researchers report online on 13 April in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B.
Because soft tissue is generally not found in fossils, even "a one-off
specimen could really answer some questions" about the lifestyles of
ancient birds, says Channing.