Photo credit: ideonexus
Apparently my last post about archaeopteryx stimulated some fresh scholarship! Researchers used an extremely powerful X-ray machine to examine the Thermopolis archaeopteryx specimen. They were hoping to find traces left behind by the decomposition of the specimen’s soft tissue. Hopefully this will allow them to learn more about archaeopteryx’s soft tissue.
This is yet another chapter in what has been an extremely exciting move toward studying “more than just the bones” in paleontology. Of course, soft-tissue preservation is nothing new (Burgess Shale, ahem), but it’s being looked for in exciting new ways. There seems to be a general move toward taking a much closer look at fossils, looking for the unexpected, and sometimes finding it. For example, the (hotly contested) discovery of non-fossilized, preserved soft tissue in a dinosaur bone.
But regardless of that particular case, the increasinly advanced techniques paleontologists are using to look at fossils can’t help but yield new and exciting discoveries! I look forward to seeing the results from this latest development.
Read the full story here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090215151858.htm