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See Inside March 2011

What Is It? Boning Up




Norman Barker

Boning up: Is it art or science? Norman Barker is an expert on both. The associate professor of pathology and art as applied to medicine at Johns Hopkins University shot this cross section of a dinosaur bone at 15× magnification. The bone (blue), from an unknown species, is about the size of a roll of duct tape and was found in the Morrison Formation on the Colorado Plateau, where fossils are common. The iron oxide (red) in the quartz-filled (white) sample could be part of the marrow or spongy bone, but Barker says “it could also be a tree root that grew and decomposed over the millions and millions of years it takes before the actual specimen becomes fossilized.”

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