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Experimental Preservation of Muscle Tissue in Quartz Sand and Kaolinite

Newman, Sharon A. and Daye, Mirna and Fakra, Sirine C. and Marcus, Matthew A. and Pajusalu, Mihkel and Pruss, Sara B. and Smith, Emily F. and Bosak, Tanja (2019) Experimental Preservation of Muscle Tissue in Quartz Sand and Kaolinite. Palaios, 34 (9). pp. 437-451. ISSN 0883-1351. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20190930-154736909

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Abstract

Siliciclastic sediments of the Ediacaran Period contain exceptionally preserved fossils of macroscopic organisms, including three-dimensional casts and molds commonly found in sandstones and siltstones and some two-dimensional compressions reported in shales. The sporadic and variable associations of these exceptionally preserved macroscopic fossils with pyrite, clay minerals, and microbial fossils and textures complicate our understanding of fossilization processes. This hinders inferences about the evolutionary histories, tissue types, original morphologies, and lifestyles of the enigmatic Ediacara biota. Here, we investigate the delayed decay of scallop muscles buried in quartz sand or kaolinite for 45 days. This process occurs in the presence of microbial activity in mixed redox environments, but in the absence of thick, sealing microbial mats. Microbial processes that mediate organic decay and release the highest concentrations of silica and Fe(II) into the pore fluids are associated with the most extensive tissue decay. Delayed decay and the preservation of thick muscles in sand are associated with less intense microbial iron reduction and the precipitation of iron oxides and iron sulfides that contain Fe(II) or Fe(III). In contrast, muscles buried in kaolinite are coated only by <10 μm-thick clay veneers composed of kaolinite grains and newly formed K- and Fe(II)-rich aluminosilicate phases. Muscles that undergo delayed decay in kaolinite lose more mass relative to the muscles buried in sand and undergo vertical collapse. These findings show that the composition of minerals that coat or precipitate within the tissues and the vertical dimension of the preserved features can depend on the type of sediment that buries the muscles. Similar processes in the zone of oscillating redox likely facilitated the formation of exceptionally preserved macrofossils in Ediacaran siliciclastic sediments.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2019.030DOIArticle
https://www.sepm.org/supplemental-materials/629/viewPublisherSupporting Information
Additional Information:© 2019 SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology. Received 28 March 2019; accepted 12 August 2019. Published Online: September 2019. We acknowledge the members of the Bosak laboratory (MIT) and thank Timothy Cavanaugh (Harvard CNS), Yong Zhang, and Shiahn Chen (MIT CMSE) for their assistance with electron microscopy, Charles Settens (MIT CMSE) and Nobumichi Tamura (ALS) for their help with XRD analyses, and Armeen Taeb (Caltech) for statistical consultation. SBP thanks Robert Gaines (Pomona College) for helpful conversations. We also thank Nicholas Tosca (Oxford), Lidya Tarhan (Yale) and one anonymous reviewer, as well as PALAIOS co-editor Martin Zuschin and associate editor Shuhai Xiao for their thoughtful comments and suggestions on the manuscript. This work was funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute grant (NNA13AA90A) and grants from the Simons Foundation (327126 and 344707 to TB) and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (PRF# 54498-ND8 to TB). MP's work was supported by funding by the NSF FESD Type I: The Dynamics of Earth System Oxygenation project (#1338810), the Templeton Foundation and the Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grant Program, MIT. CNS, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI), is supported by the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1541959). The operations at the ALS are supported by the Director, Office of Science and Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy at LBNL under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANNA13AA90A
Simons Foundation327126
Simons Foundation344707
American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund54498-ND8
NSFEAR-1338810
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
NSFECCS-1541959
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190930-154736909
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20190930-154736909
Official Citation:SHARON A. NEWMAN, MIRNA DAYE, SIRINE C. FAKRA, MATTHEW A. MARCUS, MIHKEL PAJUSALU, SARA B. PRUSS, EMILY F. SMITH, TANJA BOSAK; EXPERIMENTAL PRESERVATION OF MUSCLE TISSUE IN QUARTZ SAND AND KAOLINITE. PALAIOS ; 34 (9): 437–451. doi: https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2019.030.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98974
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Sep 2019 23:16
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 16:56

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