Fossils of wood, bone and teeth found along the Upper Purus River οf Amazonia. were studied using conventional microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Mass spectometry was also used to investigate minor and trace element signatures of bone samples.
The microsopy studies showed that there was little alteration of original textures. In the fossil wood samples, identified In thin section as tropical hardwood trees, the replacement of the original material with siderite suggests that fossilization occured in shallow sediments in which interstitial waters were saturated with respect to iron carbenate. In samples of both fossilized bone and wood, precipitation of secondary iron phases was commonly observed in cracks and voids. Other secondary phases Included silica, iron oxides, manganese carbonate. The intimate assοciation οf these secondary phases with the original biological structures could be evidence for a microbiological role in the formation of these phases. The similarity in rare earth element (REE) signatures for 2 fossil bone samples from different modern locations indicates their having shared similar diagenetic histories.
The virtually complete preservation of original textures suggests that microscοpic studies could be useful in classifying fossil and even in identifying original materials. Rare carth signatures in fossilized bone may reflect ground water compositions at the time of fossilization.