Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Watering the Air
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Tree Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Bee Disease
Killer Flatworms Hunt with Poison
No Fair: Monkey Sees, Doesn't
The Colorful World of Synesthesia
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Chemistry and Materials
Fog Buster
Sugary Survival Skill
A New Basketball Gets Slick
Batteries built by Viruses
Look into My Eyes
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
Dinosaur Dig
Watery Fate for Nature's Gliders
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
A Great Quake Coming?
Snowflakes and Avalanches
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Hazy with a Chance of Sunshine
Acid Snails
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Finding the Past
The Taming of the Cat
Stonehenge Settlement
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Flashlight Fishes
Electric Catfish
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
Chocolate Rules
Recipe for Health
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Subject and Verb Agreement
Finding Subjects and Verbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Play for Science
Math of the World
Human Body
Flu Patrol
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Gut Germs to the Rescue
Sloth Bears
Asiatic Bears
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Gaining a Swift Lift
Einstein's Skateboard
Fungus Hunt
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
A Giant Flower's New Family
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Chaos Among the Planets
Catching a Comet's Tail
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Machine Copy
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Robots on the Road, Again
Revving Up Green Machines
Troubles with Hubble
Earth's Poles in Peril
Recipe for a Hurricane
Arctic Melt
Add your Article

Fingerprinting Fossils

A bone is a bone is a bone. Or so it seems. To an untrained eye, a fossilized bone doesn't tell much of a story. Scientists, on the other hand, can date a fossil with amazing precision. They can also tell a lot of things about how the animal lived and died. Now, they can even learn about the place where the fossil originally formed. Geologists from Temple University in Philadelphia have found a way to determine the kind of soil that fossils came from, even when the fossils are millions of years old and far from their original locations. Their method relies on detecting atoms of certain elements known as rare earths. The bodies of living animals contain tiny amounts of rare-earth elements. When an animal dies and is buried in mud or dirt, its bones gradually pick up additional amounts of rare earths from the soil. The process takes up to 30,000 years, at which point the fossil holds a permanent record of the soil's composition at the time. The rare earths serve as a sort of fingerprint. Different soils may contain different concentrations of various rare-earth elements. By comparing a fossil's rare-earth composition with that of different soils, it's possible to pinpoint the type of soil and possibly where the fossil came from. Scientists hope that the new method will help them piece together the ecology of ancient times. For example, the Temple researchers were able to figure out whether certain animals, whose fossils were from different parts of Badlands National Park in South Dakota, were buried in ancient flood plains or in stagnant lakes. If soil signatures differ from one place to another, the technique might also help law enforcement officials nab people who illegally steal fossils from protected lands. Fossil poaching is a big problem in the Badlands, and park rangers would be able to tell if a seized fossil actually came from the park.

Fingerprinting Fossils
Fingerprinting Fossils

Designed and Powered by™