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Elemental Mapping for Paleontology and Paleobiologic Studies

Elemental mapping can open new frontiers in paleontology and paleobiology by providing spatial geochemical distribution. Micro-XRF and x-ray microanalysis are non-destructive technologies that map elemental concentrations, allowing analysis of even sensitive samples.

Elemental mapping can open new frontiers in paleontology and paleobiology by providing spatial geochemical distributions. Micro-XRF and X-ray microanalysis are element mapping technologies that allow non-destructive analysis of even the most sensitive samples. For example:

  • Identify calcareous fossils in-situ to reduce selection bias from methods that free fossils from rocks with acid digestions 
  • Visualize elemental signatures left behind by soft tissue and fluids 
  • Separate fossil from host rock using trace elements; for example, bone from concretions using the concentration of phosphorus 
  • Highlight structural details not otherwise visible, such as features defined by slight variations in elemental content
  • Understand fossilization and diagenesis, through identification of replacement minerals, minerals filling structures and neomorphism 
  • Identification and analysis of microfacies and environments of deposition 
  • Identify trace fossils, visualize details of structure and classify icnoassemblages based on trace element variations in sediment  

Key Publications

Palaeobiology of red and white blood cell-like structures, collagen and cholesterol in an ichthyosaur bone

Plet, C., Grice, K., Pagès, A., Verrall, M., Coolen, M. J., Ruebsam, W., ... & Schwark, L.

Scientific Reports7(1), 1-10, 2017

 

 

Geochemical compositional mapping of Lower Jurassic trace fossils: Palaeoenvironmental significance and methodological implications

Reolid, Jesús, and Matías Reolid

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 538: 109456, 2020