Physicists have developed a new method for studying the prints of ancient animals and insects, with which you can see all the elements of anatomy, invisible to the eye of man and invisible to the microscope. Summary of the paper published in the journal Applied Physics A, reducible ScienceNow.
The method involves irradiation of high-energy X-rays with a follow up fossils appearing fluorescence. The photons of different wavelengths are re-emitted by different atoms, so the method allows you to see how the elements are arranged on the surface of the object. X-ray fluorescence, unlike currently widely used mass spectrometry without destroying the object and it makes no change.
This new method has helped the authors to establish that the fossil age of 50 million years old, which paleontologists have long believed the imprint of a lizard skins dropped during molting, is in fact the very imprint of a lizard. It is found out by the discovery of the head often spots is phosphorus, which corresponded to the teeth reptile. And given the fact that the lizards teeth during molting do not shed, the oldest fossil may be the only imprint of the animal itself.
Scientists believe that the new method will be particularly important in the analysis of fingerprints previously investigated as will reveal new information about them.
Chemical analysis of fossils, made in earlier studies allowed us to determine that between the ancient cuttlefish ink and ink modern mollusks was virtually no difference. Age studied prints reached 160 million years.