Direct chemical evidence for eumelanin pigment from the Jurassic period

Keely Glass, Shosuke Ito, Philip R. Wilby, Takayuki Sota, Atsushi Nakamura, C. Russell Bowers, Jakob Vinther, Suryendu Dutta, Roger Summons, Derek E.G. Briggs, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, John D. Simon

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109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Melanin is a ubiquitous biological pigment found in bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. It has a diverse range of ecological and biochemical functions, including display, evasion, photoprotection, detoxification, and metal scavenging. To date, evidence of melanin in fossil organisms has relied entirely on indirect morphological and chemical analyses. Here, we apply direct chemical techniques to categorically demonstrate the preservation of eumelanin in two >160 Ma Jurassic cephalopod ink sacs and to confirm its chemical similarity to the ink of the modern cephalopod, Sepia officinalis. Identification and characterization of degradation-resistant melanin may provide insights into its diverse roles in ancient organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10218-10223
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume109
Issue number26
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 26

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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    Glass, K., Ito, S., Wilby, P. R., Sota, T., Nakamura, A., Bowers, C. R., Vinther, J., Dutta, S., Summons, R., Briggs, D. E. G., Wakamatsu, K., & Simon, J. D. (2012). Direct chemical evidence for eumelanin pigment from the Jurassic period. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(26), 10218-10223. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1118448109