Fluoridation of a lizard bone embedded in Dominican amber suggests open-system behavior
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Vertebrate fossils embedded in amber represent a particularly valuable paleobiological record as amber is supposed to be a barrier to the environment, precluding significant alteration of the animals’ body over geological time. The mode and processes of amber preservation are still under debate, and it is questionable to what extent original material may be preserved. Due to their high value, vertebrates in amber have never been examined with analytical methods, which means that the composition of bone tissue in amber is unknown. Here, we report our results of a study on a left forelimb from a fossil Anolis sp. indet. (Squamata) that was fully embedded in Miocene Dominican amber. Our results show a transformation of the bioapatite to fluorapatite associated with a severe alteration of the collagen phase and the formation of an unidentified carbonate. These findings argue for a poor survival potential of macromolecules in Dominican amber fossils.
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