Comparing rates of recrystallisation and the potential preservation of biomolecules from the distribution of trace elements in fossil bones


Trueman, Clive N., Palmer, Martin R., Field, Judith, Privat, Karen, Ludgate, Natalie, Chavagnac, Valerie, Eberth, David A., Cifelli, Richard and Rogers, Raymond R. (2008) Comparing rates of recrystallisation and the potential preservation of biomolecules from the distribution of trace elements in fossil bones. Comptes Redus Palevol, 7, (2-3), 145-158. (doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2008.02.006).

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Description/Abstract

Preservation of intact macromolecules and geochemical signals in fossil bones is mainly controlled by the extent of post-mortem
interaction between bones and sediment pore waters. Trace elements such as lanthanum are added to bone post-mortem from pore
waters, and where uptake occurs via a simple process of diffusion and adsorption, the elemental distribution can be used to assess
the relative extent of bone-pore water interaction and rate of recrystallisation. Distribution profiles can be parameterised effectively
using simple exponential equations, and the extent of bone–water interaction compared within and between sites. In this study,
the distribution of lanthanum within bone was determined by laser ablation ICP–MS in 60 archaeological and fossil bones from
Pleistocene and Cretaceous sites. The rates of recrystallisation and potential for preservation of intact biogeochemical signals vary
significantly within and between sites. Elemental profiles within fossil bones hold promise as a screening technique to prospect for
intact biomolecules and as a taphonomic tool.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1631-0683 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > National Oceanography Centre (NERC)
ePrint ID: 42346
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:27
Contact Email Address: trueman@noc.soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/42346

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