Taphonomic experiments resolve controls on the preservation of melanosomes and keratinous tissues in feathers

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dc.contributor.author Slater, Tiffany S.
dc.contributor.author McNamara, Maria E.
dc.contributor.author Orr, Patrick J.
dc.contributor.author Foley, Tara B.
dc.contributor.author Ito, Shosuke
dc.contributor.author Wakamatsu, Kazumasa
dc.date.accessioned 2019-10-23T03:47:52Z
dc.date.available 2019-10-23T03:47:52Z
dc.date.issued 2019-09-19
dc.identifier.citation Slater, T. S., McNamara, M. E., Orr, P. J., Foley, T. B., Ito, S. and Wakamatsu, K. 'Taphonomic experiments resolve controls on the preservation of melanosomes and keratinous tissues in feathers', Palaeontology, [In press]. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12445 en
dc.identifier.startpage 1 en
dc.identifier.endpage 13 en
dc.identifier.issn 0031-0239
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/8814
dc.identifier.doi 10.1111/pala.12445 en
dc.description.abstract Fossils are a key source of data on the evolution of feather structure and function through deep time, but their ability to resolve macroevolutionary questions is compromised by an incomplete understanding of their taphonomy. Critically, the relative preservation potential of two key feather components, melanosomes and keratinous tissue, is not fully resolved. Recent studies suggesting that melanosomes are preferentially preserved conflict with observations that melanosomes preserve in fossil feathers as external moulds in an organic matrix. To date, there is no model to explain the latter mode of melanosome preservation. We addressed these issues by degrading feathers in systematic taphonomic experiments incorporating decay, maturation and oxidation in isolation and combination. Our results reveal that the production of mouldic melanosomes requires interactions with an oxidant and is most likely to occur prior to substantial maturation. This constrains the taphonomic conditions under which melanosomes are likely to be fossilized. Critically, our experiments also confirm that keratinous feather structures have a higher preservation potential than melanosomes under a range of diagenetic conditions, supporting hitherto controversial hypotheses that fossil feathers can retain degraded keratinous structures. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Wiley en
dc.relation.uri https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pala.12445#
dc.rights ©The Authors. Palaeontology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Palaeontological Association This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ en
dc.subject Mouldic melanosome en
dc.subject Fossil colour en
dc.subject Fossil feather en
dc.subject Experimental taphonomy en
dc.subject Melanin en
dc.subject Keratin en
dc.title Taphonomic experiments resolve controls on the preservation of melanosomes and keratinous tissues in feathers en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Tiffany Slater, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email:tiffany.slater@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.description.version Published Version en
dc.contributor.funder European Research Council en
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle Paleontology en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress tiffany.slater@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.bibliocheck Check, vol, issue and article ID en
dc.relation.project info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020::ERC::ERC-STG/637691/EU/Animal coloration through deep time: evolutionary novelty, homology and taphonomy/ANICOLEVO en


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©The Authors. Palaeontology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Palaeontological Association  This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as ©The Authors. Palaeontology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Palaeontological Association This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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