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Exceptionally well-preserved Cretaceous microfossils reveal new biomineralization styles.

Wendler, JE; Bown, P; (2013) Exceptionally well-preserved Cretaceous microfossils reveal new biomineralization styles. Nature Communications , 4 , Article 2052. 10.1038/ncomms3052. Green open access

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Abstract

Calcareous microplankton shells form the dominant components of ancient and modern pelagic sea-floor carbonates and are widely used in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. The efficacy of these applications, however, is dependent upon minimal geochemical alteration during diagenesis, but these modifying processes are poorly understood. Here we report on new biomineralization architectures of previously unsuspected complexity in calcareous cell-wall coverings of extinct dinoflagellates (pithonellids) from a Tanzanian microfossil-lagerstätte. These Cretaceous 'calcispheres' have previously been considered biomineralogically unremarkable but our new observations show that the true nature of these tests has been masked by recrystallization. The pristine Tanzanian fossils are formed from fibre-like crystallites and show archeopyles and exquisitely constructed opercula, demonstrating the dinoflagellate affinity of pithonellids, which has long been uncertain. The interwoven fibre-like structures provide strength and flexibility enhancing the protective function of these tests. The low-density wall fabrics may represent specific adaptation for oceanic encystment life cycles, preventing the cells from rapid sinking.

Type: Article
Title: Exceptionally well-preserved Cretaceous microfossils reveal new biomineralization styles.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3052
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3052
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Keywords: Dental Enamel, Dinoflagellida, Fossils, Minerals, Preservation, Biological, Tanzania, Time Factors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427163
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