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Three-dimensional Raman imagery of precambrian microscopic organisms

Authors

  • J. W. SCHOPF,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP-Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life), and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095–1567, USA
      Corresponding author: J. William Schopf. Tel.: + 310 825 1170; fax: + 310 825 0097; e-mail: schopf@ess.ucla.edu.
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  • A. B. KUDRYAVTSEV

    1. IGPP-Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095–1567, USA
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Corresponding author: J. William Schopf. Tel.: + 310 825 1170; fax: + 310 825 0097; e-mail: schopf@ess.ucla.edu.

ABSTRACT

Two major difficulties have long hindered studies of ancient permineralized micro-organisms: (1) accurate documentation of their three-dimensional morphology at micron-scale resolution; and (2) direct characterization of their molecular-structural composition. Here we introduce a technique new to palaeobiology, the three-dimensional Raman imagery that meets both of these needs, which is a nonintrusive, nondestructive technique that can provide data by which to accurately and objectively characterize, in situ and at micron-scale resolution, the morphology and molecular-structural composition of permineralized micro-organisms and their associated matrices. Application of this new technique can provide information about the morphology, taphonomy and fidelity of preservation of fossil micro-organisms unavailable by any other means.

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