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Preservation of mandibular zinc in a beetle from the Eocene Kishenehn Formation of Montana, USA

Dale Greenwalt, Timothy R. Rose and Stylianos Chatzimanolis
Preservation of mandibular zinc in a beetle from the Eocene Kishenehn Formation of Montana, USA (in Eocene paleontology and geology of western North America, David R. Greenwood (editor), Kathleen B. Pigg (editor) and Melanie L. DeVore (editor))
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences = Revue Canadienne des Sciences de la Terre (June 2016) 53 (6): 614-621

Abstract

Fossil insects of the 46 million-year-old Coal Creek Member of the Kishenehn Formation exhibit exceptional preservation as evidenced by the preservation of color and the blood-derived pigment heme in a blood-engorged mosquito. In the present study, analysis of a fossil rove beetle (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) from the Kishenehn Formation document preservation of zinc, a metal often used to harden the cutting surfaces of mandibles in extant insects, localized to the mandibles of the fossil insect. Scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy demonstrate that the carbonaceous bodies of preserved insects are physically homogeneous, composed primarily of carbon, and are distinct from the adjacent microbial mat within which the insects are thought to have been preserved. The microbial mat that covered the fossil insects is shown to consist of, in part, well-consolidated silicates. This thin layer, while completely transparent when wet, obscures the fossil when dry. The in situ preservation of components such as mandibular zinc and mosquito host blood-derived heme demonstrate that the carbonaceous bodies of Kishenehn Formation fossil insects contain some portion of their original contents. The thin layer of silicate-embedded mat may function to stabilize the fossil and its molecular components and may explain, in part, the exceptional preservation of the Kishenehn Formation fossils.


ISSN: 0008-4077
EISSN: 1480-3313
Coden: CJESAP
Serial Title: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences = Revue Canadienne des Sciences de la Terre
Serial Volume: 53
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Preservation of mandibular zinc in a beetle from the Eocene Kishenehn Formation of Montana, USA
Title: Eocene paleontology and geology of western North America
Author(s): Greenwalt, DaleRose, Timothy R.Chatzimanolis, Stylianos
Author(s): Greenwood, David R.editor
Author(s): Pigg, Kathleen B.editor
Author(s): DeVore, Melanie L.editor
Affiliation: Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology, Washington, DC, United States
Affiliation: Brandon University, Department of Biology, Brandon, MB, Canada
Pages: 614-621
Published: 201606
Text Language: English
Summary Language: French
Publisher: National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Meeting name: 2014 Geological Society of America annual meeting; Eocene northern North America; biotic change and environmental context
Meeting location: Vancouver, BC, CAN, Canada
Meeting date: 20141021Oct. 21, 2014
References: 41
Accession Number: 2017-006328
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
N44°30'00" - N49°00'00", W116°01'60" - W104°01'60"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA, United States
Country of Publication: Canada
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201705
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