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Archaeopteryx fossil seen in new light

X-ray fluorescence reveals startling details, remains of some soft tissues in 150-million-year-old specimen

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4:49pm, May 10, 2010

The feathers preserved in a 150-million-year-old fossil of Archaeopteryx aren’t just casts of the primitive bird’s plumage, as paleontologists have long presumed: Amazingly, the structures retain chemical elements from the original feathers, a a new X-ray imaging technique reveals.

“People have been looking at these [feathers] a long time and thought they were just impressions, but there’s actually remains of soft tissue there,” says Roy Wogelius, a geochemist at the University of Manchester in England. He and his colleagues report their find online during the week of May 10 and in an upcoming Proceed

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