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Oxidative conditions can lead to exceptional preservation through phosphatization

Abstract : Exceptional preservation through phosphatization is primarily controlled by a reduction in pH, favoring the precipitation of apatite over that of calcite. Laboratory experiments have suggested that phosphatization results from anoxic decay. Here we report results of the fine-scale mineralogical characterization of Cretaceous phosphatized fossils of teleost fishes and crustaceans from the Jebel oum Tkout Lagerstätte (Morocco). Data collected using complementary laboratory and synchrotron-based X-ray techniques reveal that oxidative conditions were established at a certain step of decay. Supporting these conclusions are the presence, covering and embedded in the phosphatized tissues, of Fe(III)-rich mineral phases, the precipitation of which was likely biologically induced during decay. The present study highlights that the establishment of oxidative conditions during decay can be compatible with exceptional preservation of fossils through phosphatization.
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Contributor : Sylvain Bernard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 1:40:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 11:43:37 AM


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Pierre Gueriau, Sylvain Bernard, François Farges, Cristian Mocuta, Didier Dutheil, et al.. Oxidative conditions can lead to exceptional preservation through phosphatization. Geology, Geological Society of America, 2020, 48 (12), pp.1164-1168. ⟨10.1130/G45924.1⟩. ⟨hal-03021309⟩



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