Characterization of Organics Consistent with b-Chitin Preserved in the Late Eocene Cuttlefish Mississaepia mississippiensis.
2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1544-9173, EISSN 1545-7885, ISSN ISSN 1544-9173, EISSN 1545-7885, Vol. 6, no 11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Preservation of original organic components in fossils across geological time is controversial, but the potential such molecules have for elucidating evolutionary processes and phylogenetic relationships is invaluable. Chitin is one such molecule. Ancient chitin has been recovered from both terrestrial and marine arthropods, but prior to this study had not been recovered from fossil marine mollusks.
Methodology/Principal Findings: Organics consistent with b-chitin are recovered in cuttlebones of Mississaepia mississippiensis from the Late Eocene (34.36 million years ago) marine clays of Hinds County, Mississippi, USA. These organics were determined and characterized through comparisons with extant taxa using Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM/EDS), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (Hyperprobe), Fourier Transmission Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Immunohistochemistry (IHC). Conclusions/Significance: Our study presents the first evidence for organics consistent with chitin from an ancient marine mollusk and discusses how these organics have been degraded over time. As mechanisms for their preservation, we propose that the inorganic/organic lamination of the cuttlebone, combined with a suboxic depositional environment with available free Fe2+ ions, inhibited microbial or enzymatic degradation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
USA, 2011. Vol. 6, no 11
Research subject Diversity of life
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1364DOI: e28195. 10.1371/journal.pone.0028195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-1364DiVA: diva2:862541
Projectsshell morphology and ultrastructure as a key to coleoid cephalopod phylogeny