What Happens to Make Fish Muscle Turn to Pyrite? – #365papers – 2017 – 124

#365papers for May 4, 2017

Oses, Petri, Boltani, Prado, Galante, Tizzutto, Rudnitzki, da Silva, Rodrigues, Rangel, Sucerquia, and Pacheco, 2017, Deciphering pyritization-kerogenization gradient for fish soft-tissue preservation: Nature Scientific Reports, v. 7, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01563-0

What’s it about?

Fish fossils from the Santana Formation in northeastern Brazil are often exquisitely preserved, with soft-tissues (muscles, eyes, etc) often evident and available for study. The authors here are less concerned with what specifically was preserved, but how it was preserved. In some cases, the fossils were altered to pyrite; in others to kerogen. The path for alteration and preservation depended on minute details of the rocks and the geochemical environment in which the dead organisms were deposited.

Why does it matter?

There are many deposits throughout the world that preserve soft parts of ancient organisms. This paper helps us understand how that happens so we can better focus our efforts on rock units that might also preserve such fossils.

Why did I read this?

I have always been interested on how the preservation of fossils works and what chemical controls there are on what we can find.

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