2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 225-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


SNOECK, Christophe1, DE WINTER, Niels J.1, STEIN, Koen H.W.2 and CLAEYS, Philippe1, (1)Analytical, Environmental and Geo-Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, Brussels, 1050, Belgium, (2)Directorate 'Earth and History of Life', Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Rue Vautier 29, Brussels, 1000, Belgium; Analytical, Environmental and Geo-Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, Brussels, 1050, Belgium, csnoeck@vub.ac.be

Both in palaeontology and archaeology, the study of bone and teeth is key to the understanding of the past as they represent direct evidence of life on Earth. The mineral present in bone and teeth (bioapatite – a highly substituted hexagonal calcium phosphate apatite) contains several elements that can be used to reconstruct palaeoenvironments, palaeodiets, mobility patterns, etc.

However, the isotopic study of fossil and archaeological bone and teeth for such reconstructions relies heavily on the preservation of their original signal which, in many cases, is far from being certain. Through the combination of various visual and spectral methods (microscopy, FTIR, RAMAN, µXRF), a better evaluation of the preservation of fossil bone and teeth can be done. Furthermore, by observing the δ13C values within a single bone/tooth and comparing with the δ18O values of the carbonate and phosphate fractions, further insights can be gained into the level of preservation of the samples.

In this poster we present preliminary results investigating the structural, chemical and isotope compositions of bone and teeth with ages ranging from the Lower Permian to the present day. Several alteration patterns can be observed such as fossilization, burning, leaching of elements within the sample, etc. It is also possible to evaluate the presence/preservation of organic matter in these samples. This will in turn allow us to carry out more accurate reconstruction of past environments.