Treasures of the Mesozoic. Fluorescent color patterns found on 240-million-year-old shells (photo)
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Traces of color patterns are extremely rare in these ancient fossils, but they can still survive, more often than scientists thought.
writes Sci Tech Daily.
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During the study, scientists were able to reveal color patterns on the shells of the Earth's Mesozoic era, which are at least 240 million years old. As a result, these samples are considered the oldest fluorescent color patterns that scientists have ever been able to find.
According to study co-author Dr. Klaus Wolkenstein, traces of color patterns are extremely rare for shells from the Mesozoic period. However, a new study of Triassic scallops under ultraviolet light, which date back to the beginning of the Mesozoic era, shows that color patterns may actually persist much more often than scientists previously thought.
UV light is invisible to the human eye, but it excites organic compounds in fossils and illuminates them. As a result, we can see an amazing variety of color patterns, stripes, zigzags and even “flames”. Scientists note that the variety of patterns on ancient shells can be compared with the patterns of modern seashells that we can find on the beach.
According to Wolkenstein, fluorescent compounds were formed on Triassic shells only during the course of petrification by oxidizing the original pigments . That is, the color patterns of modern shells do not exhibit fluorescence. The researchers also noticed that ancient fossils have different colors depending on the region in which they were found – the color spectrum varies from yellow to red with all sorts of transitions.