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The fossilization of eurypterids; a result of molecular transformation

Neal S. Gupta, O. Erik Tetlie, Derek E. G. Briggs and Richard D. Pancost
The fossilization of eurypterids; a result of molecular transformation
Palaios (July 2007) 22 (4): 439-447


The fossil remains of eurypterid cuticles in this study yield long-chain (<C (sub 9) to C (sub 22) ) aliphatic components similar to type II kerogen during pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, in contrast to the chitin and protein that constitute the bulk of modern analogs. Structural analysis (thermochemolysis) of eurypterid cuticles reveals fatty acyl moieties (derived from lipids) of chain lengths C (sub 7) to C (sub 18) , with C (sub 16) and C (sub 18) components being the most abundant. The residue is immune to base hydrolysis, indicating a highly recalcitrant nature and suggesting that if ester linkages are present in the macromolecule, they are sterically protected. Some samples yield phenols and polyaromatic compounds, indicating a greater degree of aromatization, which correlates with higher thermal maturity as demonstrated by Raman spectroscopy. Analysis (including thermochemolysis) of the cuticle of modern scorpions and horseshoe crabs, living relatives of the eurypterids, shows that C (sub 16) and C (sub 18) fatty acyl moieties likewise dominate. If we assume that the original composition of the eurypterid cuticle is similar to that of living chelicerates, fossilization likely involves the incorporation of such lipids into an aliphatic polymer. Such a process of in situ polymerization accounts for the fossil record of eurypterids.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 22
Serial Issue: 4
Title: The fossilization of eurypterids; a result of molecular transformation
Affiliation: Yale University, Department of Geology and Geophysics, New Haven, CT, United States
Pages: 439-447
Published: 20070701
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 50
Accession Number: 2007-087619
Categories: Invertebrate paleontologyGeneral geochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
N40°30'00" - N45°00'00", W79°45'00" - W71°55'00"
N37°00'00" - N40°00'00", W102°00'00" - W94°34'60"
N37°45'00" - N41°45'00", W88°10'00" - W84°45'00"
N43°30'00" - N47°00'00", W66°15'00" - W59°45'00"
N42°00'00" - N57°00'00", W95°00'00" - W74°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Bristol, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 200739
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