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Solnhofen Imaging:

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Material and Methods

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Fossils from the Solnhofen Lithographic Limestones and similar deposits of the Upper Jurassic of southern Germany are famous for their extraordinary preservation (we will unite these lagerstätten under the term 'Solnhofen-type' in this study). The crustacean fossils in particular yield significant information for reconstructing phylogenies (Schram and Dixon 2004), and it is one of the few fossil deposits where larval specimens have been found (Polz 1972, 1973, 1984, 1995; Haug et al. 2008). Comparable faunal composition and similarly-appearing preservation is known from fossils of the Upper Cretaceous of Lebanon (e.g., Dames 1886; Roger 1946; Garassino 1994).

Although the preservation of these fossils is rather good, extraction of all details from the specimens and the documentation of these in an appropriate way are still mainly based on macrophotography (e.g., Garassino and Schweigert 2006). An important enhancement for fossils from Solnhofen-type lithographic limestones is to expose them to UV light, as most of the fossils show autofluorescence at this wavelength (about 358 nm). This enhances the contrast between the fossil and the matrix enormously and can be used to visualize complete specimens that are weakly defined under normal light (e.g., Polz 1995; Garassino and Schweigert 2006) or to make unseen details visible (e.g., Polz 1993; for an extensive review on the use of UV light on fossils see Tischlinger 2002). For fossils from Lebanon, this contrast-enhancing method is usually not applied (Schram et al. 1999; Lange et al. 2001; Ahyong et al. 2007, but see Fuchs et al. 2009; Pasini and Garassino 2009).

Initial attempts to document whole specimens under high resolution (Haug et al. 2008) have demonstrated that even small specimens, at first glance appearing to exhibit no details, can yield significant information. Therefore, we have further developed different methods related to the one described by Haug et al. (2008) for documenting specimens in two dimensions, and we also made the first attempts to extract three-dimensional (3D) information from fossils with higher relief.


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Solnhofen Imaging
Plain-Language & Multilingual  Abstracts | Abstract | IntroductionMaterials and Methods
Results and Discussion | Conclusions | Acknowledgements | References
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