Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils
David Wacey, Leila Battison, Russell J. Garwood, Keyron Hickman-Lewis, Martin D. Brasier, 2017. "Advanced analytical techniques for studying the morphology and chemistry of Proterozoic microfossils", Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier, A. T. Brasier, D. Mcilroy, N. McLoughlin
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This paper outlines the suite of advanced multi-scalar techniques currently available in the toolkit of the modern Proterozoic palaeobiologist. These include non-intrusive and non-destructive optical, laser and X-ray techniques, plus more destructive ion beam and electron beam methods. Together, these provide morphological, mineralogical and biochemical data at flexible spatial scales from that of an individual atom to the largest Proterozoic microfossils. An overview is given of each technique and a case study from the exceptionally well-preserved Torridonian biota of NW Scotland is presented. This microfossil assemblage was first recognized over a century ago, but its great diversity and evolutionary importance has only recently come to light, due in no small part to the research efforts of Martin Brasier.