UV light revealed the way ancient shells looked millions of years ago.

Excerpt from perfscience.com


Using ultra-violet () , scientists have astonishing colors of about 30 ancient seashells. According to PLOS, the seashells, which are estimated to be between 6.6 and 4.8 million years old, were looking white in regular white . The true colors of the shells appeared in light.

 

According to the researchers, “The biology of modern Conidae (cone snails)-which the hyperdiverse genus Conus-has been intensively studied, but the fossil record of the clade remains poorly understood, particularly within an evolutionary framework”.

In the presence of UV light, the organic matter in the shells fluoresces. With this, the shells appeared to what they looked when living creatures used to in them. It yet unclear which particular compounds in the shells are releasing the light when exposed to UV rays. With the help of the technique, the researchers were able to document the coloration patterns of 28 different cone species found in the Dominican Republic. Out of these 28 shells, 13 were found to be the species, which were not known earlier. And this could help know about the relationship between modern species.

San State University geologist Jonathan Hendricks exposed over 350 fossil specimens to ultraviolet light. 

The coloration patterns of the ancient species were compared with existing animals and doing this, researchers found many displayed similarities. According to this finding, some modern species emerge from lineages. These lineages began in the millions of years ago.

The newly distinguished species, Conus carlottae, was also among the newly distinguished species and it has a polka-dotted shell, which is not found in modern cone snails today. Researchers are now using UV light to emit color from porcelain white seashell fossils.