Paleoproteomics of Mesozoic Dinosaurs and Other Mesozoic Fossils

Published on Aug 1, 2019in Proteomics3.11
· DOI :10.1002/pmic.201800251
Mary H. Schweitzer25
Estimated H-index: 25
Elena R. Schroeter9
Estimated H-index: 9
(NCSU: North Carolina State University)
+ 1 AuthorsWenxia Zheng11
Estimated H-index: 11
(NCSU: North Carolina State University)
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 discussed. Molecular methods that have been applied to Mesozoic fossils—including iconic, non-avian dinosaurs— and the challenges inherent in such analyses, are compared and evaluated. Taphonomic processes resulting in the transition of living organisms from the biosphere into the fossil record are reviewed, and the possible effects of taphonomic alteration on downstream analyses that can be problematic for very old material (e.g., molecular modifications, limitations of on comparative databases) are addressed. Molecular studies applied to ancient remains are placed in historical context, and past and current studies are evaluated with respect to producing phylogenetically and/or evolutionarily significant data. Finally, some criteria for assessing the presence of endogenous biomolecules in very ancient fossil remains are suggested as a starting framework for such studies. (Less)
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