Articles | Volume 35, issue 1
01 Jan 2016
 | 01 Jan 2016

An integrated microwave technique for releasing microfossils from an indurated bone bed

Luke M. Hauser

Keywords: Silurian, Downton Bone Bed, microfossils, extraction, Welsh Borderlands

Abstract. Bone beds have often been a focus for micropalaeontological study as the high concentration of fossil material allows vertebrate palaeontologists the returns normally experienced only by nannofossil workers and palynologists. It is not always straightforward to release the fossil material within bone beds and the extraction of microfossils from the upper Silurian Downton Bone Bed is particularly challenging. Outlined here is an integrated method for processing this bone bed using liquid paraffin and a microwave oven, and a comparison in terms of quality and quantity with material recovered using other techniques. This integrated method allows for the recovery of microvertebrates, such as thelodonts, and also internal moulds of ostracods, brachiopods and early plant material.