Abstract

Electron microprobe analyses of platform (pectiniform Pa) elements of Permian conodonts reveal detailed and systematic chemical element distributions. The crown of the conodont element is more densely mineralized than the basal body and shows evidence of less dense mineralization in areas of rapid growth. Patterns in sodium and sulfur concentrations indicate oral to aboral differentiation within conodont elements. These chemical element patterns support oral exposure during life and functional use as a tooth, and they approximate the erupted and embedded positions of the conodont tooth when the animal was alive. Previously unrecognized spatial distributions of geochemically important chemical elements warrant consideration in future geochemical studies of conodonts.

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