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Technology Researchers Are Baking Up 24-Hour Fossils

21:05  05 august  2018
21:05  05 august  2018 Source:   popularmechanics.com

South African fossils rewrite early history of life on land

  South African fossils rewrite early history of life on land Fossils of two amphibians that lived within the Antarctic circle 360 million years ago are forcing scientists to rethink the origins of land vertebrates, including where these pioneers first appeared and the climatic conditions that spawned them.Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed partial remains of primitive Devonian Period amphibians named Tutusius umlambo and Umzantsia amazana at a site called Waterloo Farm near Grahamstown, South Africa.

Now, researchers are developing a method to create fossils in a lab in just twenty-four hours. Science. The London Tube Will Soon Run 24 Hours . Could You Ride 1000 Miles in 24 Hours ? This Portable Recorder Can Hold up to 96 Hours.

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It takes tens of millions of years to form a natural dinosaur fossil:pieces of bone, feather or other sediment get buried underground, and a combination of heat, pressure, chemical reactions and fate preserves it for scientists to find. Now, researchers are developing a method to create fossils in a lab in just twenty-four hours. The process will help deepen their understanding of the natural fossilization process, and determine the materials that can become preserved into fossil.

a close up of food© Evan Saitta / Tom Kaye

The new approach, according to Evan Saitta, a Field Museum researcher and lead author of the new study in Palaeontology, “saves us from having to run a seventy-million-year-long experiment.” Here’s how it works: Saitta and his research partner, Tom Kaye, packed samples of modern bird feathers, lizard limbs and leaves into clay tablets using a hydraulic press. Next, they put the tablets under intense heat and pressure, “baking” the tablets inside a sealed metal tube at over 410 degrees Fareneheit and 3,500 psi pressure (it’s as high as 300 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level, according to Discover).

‘Nude’ Sea-Creature Belonging To Mysterious Group Identified

  ‘Nude’ Sea-Creature Belonging To Mysterious Group Identified The initial analysis of the fossil suggested the creature had a surprisingly large tube-shaped body, measuring approximately up to 50 cm or more. It even had a few tiny spines on its body.On the basis of these features, the group has suggested the animal belonged to a mysterious group of creatures known as chancelloriids.

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The researchers let their concoctions bake for about 24 hours . And when they pulled the tablets out of the oven, the “ fossils ” looked pretty darn good. Like this article? SIGN UP for our newsletter.

The next day, they retrieved stimulated fossils that looked a lot like real fossils, with dark films of skin and scales, and browned bones. Not only did the fossils look real: when examined under an electron microscope, researchers saw exposed melanosome (found in real fossils), while materials like proteins and fatty tissue, which don’t tend to show up in real fossils, disappeared in the baked fossils too.

“Our experimental method is like a cheat sheet,” said Saitta. “If we use this to find out what kinds of biomolecules can withstand the pressure and heat of fossilization, then we know what to look for in real fossils.”

(source: Discover / Field Museum)

Scientists Identify The Earth's Oldest Known Animal Fossil .
Scientists have used fat molecules to solve a longstanding mystery and identify an ancient creature as one of the earliest animals on the planet. For more than 75 years, researchers have struggled to classify the Dickinsonia, a peculiar, vaguely jellyfish-like creature that lived about 558 million years ago. The flat, squishy, oval-shaped organism had multiple rib-like segments and could grow to over four feet long, according to National Geographic.

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