Even for the lucky few creatures that are preserved in the fossil record, soft tissues such as skin and feathers typically disappear over time. But a newly developed technique has found a way to bring them back to life in some cases. Researchers have now used the approach to resurrect the teeth and recognize the carcass of a 50-million-year-old fossil of a lizard, long thought to be merely preserved remnants of skin shed from the reptile.
“This is incredibly uncharted territory,” says Gregory Erickson, a vertebrate paleontologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee. “This technique reveals that there’s literally more to fossils than meets the eye.”