Monday 30 November 2020

CorkHi18°| Lo12°

Cork Independent


'World-first' from UCC on fossils

Tuesday, 20th August, 2019 10:39am

UCC palaeontologists have discovered a new way to reconstruct what extinct animals looked like. 

The study, published last night in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, was led by UCC’s Valentina Rossi and her supervisor Dr Maria McNamara in collaboration with an international team of chemists from the US and Japan.

The university has described the discovery as a “world first”. The team used X-rays to peer inside the anatomy of fossils and uncover hidden features.

Until recently, most studies like this have focused on the skin and feathers, whereas here the pigment is linked to visible colour. 

Unexpectedly, the new study also showed that melanin is abundant in internal organs of modern amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and their fossil counterparts. Melanin is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms.

Dr Maria McNamara said: “This discovery is remarkable in that it opens up a new avenue for reconstructing the anatomy of ancient animals. In some of our fossils we can identify skin, lungs, the liver, the gut, the heart, and even connective tissue. 

“What’s more, this suggests that melanin had very ancient functions in regulating metal chemistry in the body going back tens, if not hundreds, of millions of years.”

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message