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Biogenic apatite crystals in living organisms contain relatively high concentrations of carbonate, sodium, and other species, making the crystallite relatively soluble and reactive. During fossilization, apatite composition changes from a metastable carbonate hydroxylapatite to a thermodynamically more stable fluorapatite. Calcium, sodium, carbonate, and hydroxyl are replaced by fluoride, REE, and trace elements during diagenesis. The total REE concentrations in osteological material are generally <20 ppm; in fossil bones, however, the concentrations may be >1000–10,000 ppm. More than 95% of REE in fossil bone is incorporated during diagenesis. The fossilization process occurs within a few thousand years, and thus the chemical...

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