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FOR 2685: The Limits of the Fossil Record: Analytical and Experimental Approaches to Fossilization

Group photo of  Research Unit FOR 2685 in September 2018

FOR 2685 group photo in 2018_cropped

New Analytical and Imaging Instruments to Understand Fossilization

Research Clusters, Projects, and Members of FOR 2685, 2018–2020

Cluster A: Preservation of Mineralized Tissues

A1   Experimental alteration of bones and teeth: Quantification of effects on inorganic and organic compounds — Principal Investigators Thorsten Geisler-Wierwille and Thomas Tütken, Ph.D. student Anna Kral

A2   Organic phase (extracellular matrix, osteocyte, blood vessel) preservation in dinosaur bone: Chemical composition and hypotheses — Principal Investigators P. Martin Sander and Christa Müller, Ph.D. students Kayleigh Weyand and Mariam Tahoun

A3   The organic phase in dinosaur eggshell: Analysis, models of preservation, and implications for the evolution of bird reproduction — Principal Investigators Marianne Engeser and P. Martin Sander, Ph.D. student Anne Schnell, postdoc researcher Dr. Yang Tzu-Ruei

Cluster B: Permineralization of Non-mineralized Tissues

B1   Physicochemical and microbial processes governing the decay of organic substance in sediment under anoxic conditions — Principal Investigator Chris Ballhaus, postdoc researcher Dr. Fabian Gäb

B2   From cell to cell, tissue to tissue: Pathways in low-temperature wood silicification — Principal Investigators Carole T. Gee and Chris Ballhaus, postdoc researchers Dr. Moritz Liesegang and Dr. Shook Ling Low

B3   The impact of bacterial activity on decay and fossilization of arthropods: An experimental approach — Principal Investigators Gabriele Bierbaum and Jes Rust, Ph.D. students Kathrin Janssen and Bastian Mähler

B4   U–Pb systematics of fossilized biogenic tissues as a tracer of long-term diagenetic processes — Principal Investigator Thorsten Geisler-Wierwille, postdoc researcher Dr. Frank Tomaschek

Cluster C: Alteration of Non-mineralized Tissues and Compounds

C1   The detection of antiherbivore secondary compounds in the fossil record and their potential role in defense against insects — Principal Investigators Torsten Wappler and Jes Rust, postdoc researcher Dr. Victoria McCoy and Ph.D. student Madieh Malekhosseini

C2   Soft tissue preservation in amber: A comparative study on the taphonomy and limits of fossilization of resin embedded arthropods — Principal Investigator Jes Rust, Ph.D. student Jonas Barthel

 

For more detailed information on the aims and objectives, individual projects, members, scientific equipment of Research Unit FOR 2685, continue reading at this link:

http://FOR2685.geisler-wierwille.eu/


Student theses on fossilization

1. Yang, T.-R.  2018.  The reproductive biology of Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs and its implication for the origin of bird reproduction.  Ph.D. dissertation in Biology, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project A3]

2. Scheil, M.  2018.  U-Pb systematics of fossil biogenic apatite from the Morrison Formation (USA) and the Langenberg Quarry (Germany).  M.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

3. Krick, A.  2018.  Petrographische und geochemische Untersuchungen von verkieseltem Holz aus dem Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Utah (USA).  B.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

4. Egger, F.  2018.  Petrographische und geochemische Untersuchungen fossiler Knochen aus Tendaguru (Tansania) B.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

5. Gäb, F.  2019.  Experimental data from siderite formation in Superior type BIFs on the CO2 partial pressure in the Archaean atmospherePh.D. dissertation in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B1]

6. Gerschermann, S.  2019.  Untersuchungen von Mikrostrukturen und Viskositäten zur Klärung der Ablagerungen und der Fossilisation in den Solnhofener Plattenkalken.  B.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B1]

7. Henkemeier, N.  2019. Redescription of the soft part preservation in the holotype of Scaphognathus crassirostris (Goldfuß, 1831). M.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project A2]

8. Raubach, D.  2019.  Petrologische und geochemische Analyse von Fossilien aus der Posidonienschiefer-Formation Lias ε aus Süddeutschland. B.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

9. Niedermeier, D.  2020.  Uranium-lead dating of carnelian from paleosols of the Buntsandstein.  M.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

10. Sartorelli de Olivera, H.  2020.  An enhanced thaphonomic model for Brazlian Mesosauridae (Amniota, Sauropsida) using a quantitative approach.  M.Sc. thesis in Organismic Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Palaeobiology, University of Bonn [Project A2]

11. Pereira, L. G.  2020.  Mineralogy and preservational quality of Late Mesozoic silicified wood and mineralized dinosaur bone.  M.Sc. thesis in Organismic Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Palaeobiology, University of Bonn [Project B2]

12. Graeber, F.  2021.  Geochemical analysis of fossilized bone tissue. M.Sc. thesis in Geosciences, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project B4]

13. Schnell, A.  Submitted in March 2021.  Mass spectrometric analysis of short-lived intermediates and ancient fossils.  Ph.D dissertation in Chemistry, Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bonn [Project A3]

14. Barthel, H. JSoft tissue preservation in amber — A study on the limits of fossilisation in amber-embedded arthropods. Ph.D. dissertation in Geosciences to be completed in 2021, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project C2]

15. Janssen, K.  Der Einfluss bakterieller Aktivität auf die Präservierung und den Abbau von Weichgewebe.  Ph.D. dissertation in Biology to be completed in 2021, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University of Bonn [Project B3]

16. Mähler, B.  Decay experiments on decapods under different environmental conditions and the influence of bacterial activity with regard to fossilization.  Ph.D. dissertation in Geosciences to be completed in 2021, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project B3]

17. Kral, A. G.  In vitro aqueous alteration experiments on cortical bone -  quantification and visualization of effects from the micro- down to the nanoscale. Ph.D. dissertation in Geosciences to be completed in 2021, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Geochemistry and Petrology, University of Bonn [Project A1]

18. Malekhosseini, M.  ldentification of trace chemical components and structures against herbivory in fossil plant leaves.  Ph.D. dissertation in Geosciences to be completed in 2021, Institute of Geosciences, Division of Paleontology, University of Bonn [Project C1]

 

Publications of Research Unit FOR 2685, 2018 to 2021

1. Yang, T.-R., Y.-H. Chen, J. Wiemann, B. Spiering, and P.M. Sander. 2018. Fossil eggshell cuticle elucidates dinosaur nesting ecology. PeerJ, 6: e5144, 1–23.

2. McCoy, V.E., A. Boom, O. Wings, T. Wappler, C. Labandeira, and C.T. Gee. 2021. Fossilization of the Eocene "monkeyhair" laticifer tree from Geiseltal, Germany: A deeper understanding enabled by micro CT and pyrolysis GC/MS. Palaios, 36: 1–14.

3. McCoy, V.E., S.E. Gabbott, K. Penkman, M.J. Collins, S. Presslee, J. Holt, H. Grossman, B. Wang, M.M. Solórzano Kraemer, X. Delclòs, and E. Penalver. 2019. Ancient amino acids from fossil feathers in amber. Scientific Reports, 9: 6420.

4. Gee, C.T., P.M. Sander, S.E. Peters, M.T. El-Hennawy, M.S.M. Antar, I.S. Zalmout, and P.D. Gingerich. 2018. Fossil burrow assemblage, not mangrove roots: reinterpretation of the main whale-bearing layer in the late Eocene of Wadi Al-Hitan, Egypt. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 143:143–158.

5. Jäger, K.R.K., H. Tischlinger, G. Oleschinski, and P.M. Sander. 2018. Goldfuß was right: Soft part preservation in the Late Jurassic pterosaur Scaphognathus crassirostris revealed by reflectance transformation imaging and ultraviolet light and the auspicious beginnings of paleo-art. Palaeontologia Electronica, 21.3.3T: 1–20.

6. Wiemann, J., T.-R. Yang, and M.A. Norell. 2018. Dinosaur egg colour had a single evolutionary origin. Nature, 563: 555-559.

7. Wiemann, J., M. Fabbri, T.-R. Yang, K. Stein, P.M. Sander, M.A. Norell, and D.E.G. Briggs. 2018. Fossilization transforms vertebrate hard tissue proteins into N-heterocyclic polymers. Nature Communications, 9: 4741.

8. Stein, K., E. Prondvai, T. Huang, J.-M. Baele, P.M. Sander, and R. Reisz. 2019. Structure and evolutionary implications of the earliest (Sinemurian, Early Jurassic) dinosaur eggs and eggshells. Scientific Reports, 9: 4424.

9. Peris, D., C.C. Labandeira, E. Barrón, X. Delclòs, J. Rust, and B. Wang. 2020. Generalist pollen-feeding beetles during the mid-Cretaceous. iScience, 23(3): 100913.

10. Peris, D., and J. Jelínek. 2019. Syninclusions of two new species of short-winged flower beetle (Coleoptera: Kateretidae) in mid-Cretaceous Kachin amber (Myanmar). Cretaceous Research, 106: 104264.

11. McCoy, V.E., J. Wiemann, J.C. Lamsdell, C.D. Whalen, S. Lidgard, P. Mayer, H. Petermann, and D.E.G. Briggs. 2020. Chemical signatures of soft tissues distinguish between vertebrates and invertebrates from the Carboniferous Mazon Creek Lagerstätte of Illinois. Geobiology, 18: 560–565.

12. Peris, D., and J. Jelínek. 2019. Atypical short electra in Cretaceous short-winged flower beetles (Coleoptera: Kateretidae). Palaeoentomology, 002(5): 505–514.

13. Liesegang, M., and C.T. Gee. 2020. Silica entry and accumulation in standing trees in a hot-spring environment: cellular pathways, rapid pace and fossilization potential. Palaeontology, 63(4): 651–660.

14. Gee, C.T., V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander. 2021. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.  [Here a blog post on the book: https:////www.press.jhu.edu/news/blog/glorious-colorful-world-fossils]

15. Sander, P.M., and C.T. Gee. 2021. Chapter 1. Introduction to the limits of the fossil record, pp. 1–15. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

16. Wiersma, K., S. Läbe, and P.M. Sander. 2021. Chapter 2. Organic phase preservation in fossil dinosaur and other tetrapod bone from deep time: Extending the probable osteocyte record to the early Permian, pp. 16–54. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

17. Yang, T.-R., and A. Canoville. 2021. Chapter 3. Fossilization of reproduction-related hard and soft tissues and structures in non-avian dinosaurs and birds, pp. 55–72. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

18. Geisler, T., and M. Menneken. 2021. Chapter 4. Raman spectroscopy in fossilization research: Basic principles, applications in paleontology, and a case study on an acanthodian fish spine, pp. 73–114. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

19. Barthel, H.J., V.E. McCoy, and J. Rust. 2021. Chapter 5. From ultrastructure to biomolecular composition: Taphonomic patterns of tissue preservation in arthropod inclusions in amber, pp. 115–138. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

20. Gee, C.T., and M. Liesegang. 2021. Chapter 6. Experimental silicification of wood in the lab and field: Pivotal studies and open questions, pp. 139–158. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

21. Liesegang, M., F. Tomaschek, and J. Götze. 2021. Chapter 7. The structure and chemistry of silica in mineralized wood: Techniques and analysis, pp. 159–186. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

22. McCoy, V.E., T. Wappler, and C.C. Labandeira. 2021. Chapter 8. Exceptional fossilization of ecological interactions: Plant defenses during the four major expansions of arthropod herbivory in the fossil record, pp. 187–220. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

23. Gee, C.T., and V.E. McCoy. 2021. Chapter 9. Color in living and fossil plants: The search for biological pigments in the paleobotanical record, pp. 221–248. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

24. McCoy, V.E. 2021. Chapter 10. The future of fossilization, pp. 249–255. In C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, and P.M. Sander, eds. Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 274 pp.

25. Peris, D., K. Janssen, H.J. Barthel, G. Bierbaum, X. Delclòs, E. Penalver, M.M. Solórzano Kraemer, B.H. Jordal, and J. Rust. 2020. DNA from resin-entombed organisms: Past, present and future. PLoS Biology, 15(9): e0239521.

26. Barthel, H.J., D. Fougerouse, T. Geisler, and J. Rust. 2020. Fluoridation of a lizard bone embedded in Dominican amber suggests open-sytem behaviour. PLoS One, 15(2): e0228843.

27. Liesegang, M., and F. Tomaschek. 2020. Tracing the continental diagenetic loop of the opal-A to opal-CT transformation with X-ray diffraction. Sedimentary Geology, 398: 105603.

28. Mähler, B., K. Janssen, M. Mennecken, M. Tahoun, M. Lagos, G. Bierbaum, C.E. Müller, and J. Rust. 2020. Calcite precipitation forms crystal clusters and muscle mineralization during the decomposition of Cambarellus diminutus (Decapoda: Cambaridae) in freshwater. Palaeontologica electronica, 23(3): a55.

29. Peris, D. 2020. Coleoptera in amber from Cretaceous resiniferous forests. Cretaceous Research, 113: 104484.

30. Weber, K., M. Weber, M. Menneken, A.G. Kral, R. Mertz-Kraus, T. Geisler, J. Vogl, and T. Tütken.  In press.  Diagenetic stability of non-traditional stable isotope systems (Ca, Sr, Mg, Zn) in teeth—An in-vitro alteration experiment of biogenic apatite in isotopically enriched tracer solution. Chemical Geology.  Available online at doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120196.

31. Kral, A., A. Ziegler, T. Tütken, and T. Geisler-Wierwille.  2021. Experimental aqueous alteration of cortical bone microarchitecture analysed by quantitative micro-computed tomography. Frontiers in Earth Science, abstract available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2021.609496/abstract

32. Tahoun, M., C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, P.M. Sander, and C.E. Müller. 2021. Chemistry of porphyrins in fossil plants and animals. RSC Advances, 11: 7552.

33. McCoy, V.E., H.J. Barthel, A. Boom, E. Peñalver, X. Delclòs, and M.M. Solórzano-Kramer. In review. Volatile and semi-volatile composition of Cretaceous amber.  Cretaceous Research, in review since December 2020.

34. Gäb, F., C. Ballhaus, E. Stinnesbeck, A.G. Kral, K. Janssen, and G. Bierbaum. 2020. Experimental taphonomy of fish—Role of elevated pressure, salinity and pH. Scientific Reports, 10: 7839.

35. Janssen, K., S.L. Low, Y. Wang, Q.-Y. Mu, G. Bierbaum, and C.T. Gee. Accepted pending revision. Dissecting biofilm diversity on water lily leaves through 16S rRNA amplicon analysis: Comparison of four DNA extraction kits.  Applications in Plant Sciences, submitted in April 2021, accepted pending revision in June 2021.

36. Janssen, K., B. Mähler, J. Rust, G. Bierbaum, and V.E. McCoy.  In review.  The complex role of microbial metabolic activity in fossilization.  Biological Reviews, in review since December 2020.

37. McCoy, V.E., C.T. Gee, and O. Wings. In prep.  Oldest fossil evidence of latex sabotaging behaviour by herbivorous insects.

38. McCoy, V.E., M. Lönartz, C.T. Gee, and T. Geisler. Submitted. Fossilization of natural rubber through low-temperaure vulcanization: A Raman spectroscopic study. 
 
39. Gerschermann, S., C. Ballhaus, and F. Gäb. Accepted. Rheological properties of calcite oozes: Implications for the fossilisation in the plattenkalks of the Solnhofen-Eichstätt lagoons in the Franconian Alb, Germany. PLOS ONE

 

Last updated: June 16, 2021

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