New Technology Reveals Fossil Secrets

(p. A11) Using a new laser imaging technique to reveal traces of soft tissue in fossils of an early feathered, birdlike dinosaur, scientists have found direct evidence of a wing structure needed for flight that was previously invisible from the preserved bone evidence.
The research is part of a body of work on the cutting edge of paleontology, leveraging new technology to flesh out the study of fossils beyond bones, to look at soft tissue and feathers. Other scientists have recently turned up evidence of the protein collagen preserved in dinosaur fossils millions of years old, and scanned feathers, muscle, skin and ligament tissue from a dinosaur’s tail preserved in amber.
Known as laser-stimulated fluorescence, the new imaging technique “is revealing information preserved in the fossil we can’t see with normal light,” says University of Hong Kong paleontologist Michael Pittman, one of the leaders of the research, published Tuesday [February 28, 2017] in Nature Communications.

For the full story, see:
Ellie Kincaid. “Imaging Reveals Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Fossil.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., March 1, 2017): A11.
(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 28, 2017, and has the title “New Imaging Method Helps Scientists Look Beyond Dinosaur Bones.”)

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