The conservation laboratory is involved with a research group studying Early Carboniferous Tetrapods from the Scottish Borders. These animals are characterised by having four limbs and represent some of the earliest fully terrestrial vertebrates. The laboratory is preparing some of these recently discovered unique fossils. Analysis of the mineral composition of the rock that some of the fossils are preserved in has been carried out in the Department of Earth Sciences, using X-Ray Diffraction. Here you can see a plot showing the mineral composition of one of the specimens. We are interested in this because it will tell us if there any minerals in the rock that could begin to alter and change if the fossil is kept in an unstable environment.
Graph Photo of tetropod skull
You can read more about the project here:http://tetrapods.org
The possibility that the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago may have been caused by the eruption of the Deccan lavas in India has been increased by new research, published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin (doi:10.1130/B31167.1).
A view of the Mahabaleshwar escarpment in the western Ghats, India. Just a small part of the 3.6 km thick pile of lavas that flooded over the Deccan region of India some 66 million years ago? (photo copyright Dr Sally Gibson, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge)