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Body temperatures of modern and extinct vertebrates from ^(13)C-^(18)O bond abundances in bioapatite

Eagle, Robert A. and Schauble, Edwin A. and Tripati, Aradhna K. and Tütken, Thomas and Hulbert, Richard C. and Eiler, John M. (2010) Body temperatures of modern and extinct vertebrates from ^(13)C-^(18)O bond abundances in bioapatite. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (23). pp. 10377-10382. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2890843.

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The stable isotope compositions of biologically precipitated apatite in bone, teeth, and scales are widely used to obtain information on the diet, behavior, and physiology of extinct organisms and to reconstruct past climate. Here we report the application of a new type of geochemical measurement to bioapatite, a “clumped-isotope” paleothermometer, based on the thermodynamically driven preference for ^(13)C and ^(18)O to bond with each other within carbonate ions in the bioapatite crystal lattice. This effect is dependent on temperature but, unlike conventional stable isotope paleothermometers, is independent from the isotopic composition of water from which the mineral formed. We show that the abundance of ^(13)C-^(18)O bonds in the carbonate component of tooth bioapatite from modern specimens decreases with increasing body temperature of the animal, following a relationship between isotope “clumping” and temperature that is statistically indistinguishable from inorganic calcite. This result is in agreement with a theoretical model of isotopic ordering in carbonate ion groups in apatite and calcite. This thermometer constrains body temperatures of bioapatite-producing organisms with an accuracy of 1–2 °C. Analyses of fossilized tooth enamel of both Pleistocene and Miocene age yielded temperatures within error of those derived from similar modern taxa. Clumped-isotope analysis of bioapatite represents a new approach in the study of the thermophysiology of extinct species, allowing the first direct measurement of their body temperatures. It will also open new avenues in the study of paleoclimate, as the measurement of clumped isotopes in phosphorites and fossils has the potential to reconstruct environmental temperatures.

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Additional Information:© 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved April 16, 2010 (received for review October 1, 2009). Published online before print May 24, 2010. We would like to thank John Harris and Jim Dines at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and Rob Asher and Matt Lowe at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, for the provision of modern terrestrial vertebrate teeth. Also thanks to Paul Hale at the London Aquarium and Anna George at the Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute for provision of shark teeth, to Ben Passey for discussing adaptations to the automated CO2 purification system, and to Sierra Petersen for help preparing samples. Kate Huntington generously provided MATLAB scripts for regression analysis. This work was funded through a Caltech Chancellors Postdoctoral Scholarship to R.A.E. and National Science Foundation Grants EAR-0843294 and EAR-0643394 to J.M.E. Author contributions: R.A.E., E.A.S., and J.M.E. designed research; R.A.E. and E.A.S. performed research; R.A.E., E.A.S., A.K.T., and J.M.E. analyzed data; T.T. and R.C.H. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; and R.A.E. and E.A.S. wrote the paper.
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Caltech Chancellors Postdoctoral ScholarshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:apatite; isotope; paleoclimate; thermophysiology; paleothermometry
Issue or Number:23
PubMed Central ID:PMC2890843
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100624-092442536
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Official Citation:Body temperatures of modern and extinct vertebrates from 13C-18O bond abundances in bioapatite Robert A. Eagle, Edwin A. Schauble, Aradhna K. Tripati, Thomas Tütken, Richard C. Hulbert, John M. Eiler Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jun 2010, 107 (23) 10377-10382; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911115107
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18791
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Aug 2010 21:17
Last Modified:04 May 2020 18:45

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