Data from: Low fossilization potential of keratin protein revealed by experimental taphonomy

Evan T. Saitta, Chris Rogers, Richard A. Brooker, Geoffrey D. Abbott, Sumit Kumar, Shane S. O'Reilly, Paul Donohoe, Suryendu Dutta, Roger E. Summons & Jakob Vinther
Recent studies have suggested the presence of keratin in fossils dating back to the Mesozoic. However, ultrastructural studies revealing exposed melanosomes in many fossil keratinous tissues suggest that keratin should rarely, if ever, be preserved. In this study, keratin's stability through diagenesis was tested using microbial decay and maturation experiments on various keratinous structures. The residues were analysed using pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared to unpublished feather and hair fossils and published fresh and fossil...

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