Barthel, Hans Jonas: Soft tissue preservation in amber : a comparative study on the taphonomy and limits of fossilisation of resin embedded arthropods. - Bonn, 2022. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Hans Jonas Barthel}},
title = {Soft tissue preservation in amber : a comparative study on the taphonomy and limits of fossilisation of resin embedded arthropods},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2022,
month = nov,

note = {This doctoral thesis deals with the limits of morphological and biomolecular preservation of fossils in amber and provides new information on their taphonomy. A particular focus lies on arthropod inclusions from Cambay and Zhangpu amber deposits, which both are chemically distinct from previously studied amber occurrences.
For the first time, subcellular structures could be evidenced in fossils from Eocene Cambay amber from India with electron microscopic methods. An examination of arthropods from Miocene Zhangpu amber from China shows that the frequency and extent of internal tissue preservation is not randomly distributed, but impacted by a combination of organismal characteristics and original resin chemistry. Muscle tissue, tracheal remains, and nervous tissue are the most commonly preserved, whereas abdominal tissue is infrequently detectable. This pattern is explained by an infiltration of volatile resin compounds along the tracheal system of entrapped arthropods.
Chemical analyses revealed that amber fossils can be exposed to mineral precipitations of calcite and quartz, which shows that the geological environment can have a strong influence on the potential of tissue or biomolecular preservation. This is further confirmed by a lizard bone from Dominican amber in which the original bioapatite was transformed into fluorapatite. Raman spectra of the same specimen showed an intense degradation of collagen into amorphous carbon compounds, indicating a lack of intact biomolecules.
In contrast to this, original single amino acids are extracted from Cambay and Zhangpu amber fossils which still enable conclusions about their phylogeny. Previous studies and the results of this thesis suggest that amino acids represent the limit of peptide preservation in amber. With respect to DNA preservation in amber, it is shown that intact DNA can be retrieved from extant resin-embedded arthropods. This provides an initial basis for step-by-step approaches towards the DNA preservation limit in amber. Numerous details regarding fossilisation in amber have not yet been investigated and hold great potential for future studies.},

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