Paleontologists are very excited by the discovery of trace metals and chemicals found in the remains of the world’s oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx, which provides a chemical link between birds and dinosaurs.
The discovery was made possible by by examining the fossil’s wing impressions with super-strong x-rays – an extremely sensitive method of detection not used before for this purpose, and one which could be used to learn more about other fossils.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“”Archaeopteryx is to paleontology what Tutankhamen is to archaeology. It’s simply one of the icons of our field,” said University of Manchester palaeontologist Dr Phil Manning.
“”You would think after 150 years of study, we’d know everything we need to know about this animal. But guess what – we were wrong.”
“CMW Institute researcher Bob Morton said: “The discovery that certain fossils retain the detailed chemistry of the original organisms offers scientists a new avenue for learning about long-extinct creatures.””