Paleohistology Methods at the MOR
Fossil material is embedded in resin, sectioned with diamond-bladed saws, mounted onto glass slides, and ground and polished until thin enough for light to reveal the exquisitely preserved microscopic structure.
1. OBTAIN SPECIMEN
Carefully extracting a sample from a dinosaur on display.
2. SPECIMEN PREPARATION
Molding the specimen to produce a cast to replace or restore the original fossil.
Vacuum embedding the specimen in plastic resin.
Trimming the block and cut thin wafers of embedded bone using a diamond-edged blade on a tile saw.
Mounting a thin cut wafer of embedded bone onto a frosted glass slide with epoxy glue.
6. GRINDING AND POLISHING
Following rough grinding - using fine grain aluminum oxide to polish all scratches out of a mounted section.
Ellen-T. Lamm using a polarized-light microscope to examine a thin-section slide.
Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods - Advancing Methods, Analysis and Interpretation - Edited by Kevin Padian and Ellen-Thérèse Lamm
Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods is available at: UC Press or Amazon (Amazon is now offering an e-textbook version!)
The microscopic examination of fossilized bone tissue is a sophisticated and increasingly important analytical tool for understanding the life history of ancient organisms. This book provides an essential primer and manual for using fossil bone histology to investigate the biology of extinct tetrapods. Twelve experts summarize advances in the field over the past three decades, reviewing fundamental basics of bone microanatomy and physiology. Research specimen selection, thin-section preparation, and data analysis are addressed in detail. The authors also outline methods and issues in bone growth rate calculation and chronological age determination, as well as how to examine broader questions of behavior, ecology, and evolution by studying the microstructure of bone.
Kevin Padian is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and Curator at the UC Museum of Paleontology.
Ellen-Thérèse Lamm is Histology Laboratory Manager at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.
296 pages 75 color illustrations, 6 black and white photos, 12 illustrations, 20 tables