Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Middle school science adventures
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Frogs and Toads
Fishy Sounds
Awake at Night
The Secret Lives of Grizzlies
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Swine flu goes global
Homework blues
Chemistry and Materials
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
New twists for phantom limbs
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Hubble trouble doubled
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Digging Dinos
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
A Dire Shortage of Water
Coral Islands Survive a Tsunami
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Plant Gas
Shrimpy Invaders
Sounds and Silence
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Sahara Cemetery
Untangling Human Origins
White Tip Sharks
Angler Fish
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Sponges' secret weapon
Healing Honey
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Who vs. Whom
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Math is a real brain bender
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Human Body
Disease Detectives
Spit Power
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Children and Media
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Powering Ball Lightning
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Flower family knows its roots
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
A Planet from the Early Universe
Older Stars, New Age for the Universe
Planet Hunters Nab Three More
Technology and Engineering
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Preposition?
Robots on the Road, Again
Where rivers run uphill
Revving Up Green Machines
Either Martians or Mars has gas
A Change in Climate
Catching Some Rays
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™