Wenxia Zheng
North Carolina State University
Publications 22
#1Elizabeth M. Boatman (Wake Forest University)H-Index: 1
#2Mark B. Goodwin (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 18
Last.Mary H. SchweitzerH-Index: 25
view all 7 authors...
The idea that original soft tissue structures and the native structural proteins comprising them can persist across geological time is controversial, in part because rigorous and testable mechanisms that can occur under natural conditions, resulting in such preservation, have not been well defined. Here, we evaluate two non-enzymatic structural protein crosslinking mechanisms, Fenton chemistry and glycation, for their possible contribution to the preservation of blood vessel structures recovered...
1 CitationsSource
#1Mary H. SchweitzerH-Index: 25
#2Elena R. Schroeter (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 9
Last.Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
view all 4 authors...
Molecular studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of evolutionary processes that act upon virtually every aspect of living organisms. However, these studies are limited with regard to extinct organisms, particularly those from the Mesozoic because fossils pose unique challenges to molecular workflows, and because prevailing wisdom suggests no endogenous molecular components can persist into deep time. Here, the power and potential of a molecular approach to Mesozoic fossils is disc...
1 CitationsSource
#1Yanhong Pan (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 13
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 16 authors...
Dinosaur fossils possessing integumentary appendages of various morphologies, interpreted as feathers, have greatly enhanced our understanding of the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs, as well as the origins of feathers and avian flight. In extant birds, the unique expression and amino acid composition of proteins in mature feathers have been shown to determine their biomechanical properties, such as hardness, resilience, and plasticity. Here, we provide molecular and ultrastructural...
8 CitationsSource
#1Johan Lindgren (Lund University)H-Index: 22
#2Peter Sjövall (Research Institutes of Sweden)H-Index: 27
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 23 authors...
Ichthyosaurs are extinct marine reptiles that display a notable external similarity to modern toothed whales. Here we show that this resemblance is more than skin deep. We apply a multidisciplinary experimental approach to characterize the cellular and molecular composition of integumental tissues in an exceptionally preserved specimen of the Early Jurassic ichthyosaur Stenopterygius. Our analyses recovered still-flexible remnants of the original scaleless skin, which comprises morphologically d...
12 CitationsSource
#1Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
Last.Johan Lindgren (Lund University)H-Index: 22
view all 5 authors...
Multiple fossil discoveries and taphonomic experiments have established the durability of keratin. The utility and specificity of antibodies to identify keratin peptides has also been established, both in extant feathers under varying treatment conditions, and in feathers from extinct organisms. Here, we show localization of feather-keratin antibodies to control and heat-treated feathers, testifying to the repeatability of initial data supporting the preservation potential of keratin. We then sh...
2 CitationsSource
#1Brandon J. N. Long (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 1
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
Last.Hans D. Hallen (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 21
view all 4 authors...
The discovery of soft structures in dinosaur bone with the morphological and molecular characteristics of blood vessels in extant vertebrates was both surprising and controversial. Mounting evidence suggests that these soft tissues are blood vessels, their preservation driven in part by reactive oxygen species derived from hemoglobin degradation. More data are needed to support this hypothesis. Raman spectroscopy, and resonance Raman in particular, can provide detailed information as to the chem...
1 CitationsSource
#1Johan Lindgren (Lund University)H-Index: 22
#2Takeo Kuriyama (University of Hyogo)H-Index: 7
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 12 authors...
The holotype (MHM-K2) of the Eocene cheloniine Tasbacka danica is arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record. Notwithstanding compactional flattening, the specimen is virtually intact, comprising a fully articulated skeleton exposed in dorsal view. MHM-K2 also preserves, with great fidelity, soft tissue traces visible as a sharply delineated carbon film around the bones and marginal scutes along the edge of the carapace. Here we show that the extraordinary preservat...
7 CitationsSource
#1Elena R. Schroeter (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 9
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 8 authors...
Sequence data from biomolecules such as DNA and proteins, which provide critical information for evolutionary studies, have been assumed to be forever outside the reach of dinosaur paleontology. Proteins, which are predicted to have greater longevity than DNA, have been recovered from two nonavian dinosaurs, but these results remain controversial. For proteomic data derived from extinct Mesozoic organisms to reach their greatest potential for investigating questions of phylogeny and paleobiology...
22 CitationsSource
#1Yanhong PanH-Index: 13
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 10 authors...
Abstract Microbodies associated with feathers of both nonavian dinosaurs and early birds were first identified as bacteria but have been reinterpreted as melanosomes. Whereas melanosomes in modern feathers are always surrounded by and embedded in keratin, melanosomes embedded in keratin in fossils has not been demonstrated. Here we provide multiple independent molecular analyses of both microbodies and the associated matrix recovered from feathers of a new specimen of the basal bird Eoconfuciuso...
24 CitationsSource
#1Alison E. Moyer (Drexel University)H-Index: 8
#2Wenxia Zheng (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 11
Last.Mary H. Schweitzer (NCSU: North Carolina State University)H-Index: 25
view all 3 authors...
One of the most well-recognized Cretaceous fossils is Citipati osmolskae (MPC-D 100/979), an oviraptorid dinosaur discovered in brooding position on a nest of unhatched eggs. The original description refers to a thin lens of white material extending from a manus ungual, which was proposed to represent original keratinous claw sheath that, in life, would have covered it. Here, we test the hypothesis that this exceptional morphological preservation extends to the molecular level. The fossil sheath...
7 CitationsSource