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Trends Ecol Evol. 1987 Jun;2(6):161-5. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(87)90067-X.

Molecular palaeontology: New life for old molecules.

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1
Gordon Curry is at the Department of Geology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G 12 800, UK.

Abstract

It is perhaps not generally realized that rocks contain at least J0 000 times more organic material than the present day global biomass. More importantly, it has now been demonstrated that some diagnostic molecular structures survive in recognizable form for many millions of years. The development of powerful new techniques for the recovery, purification and identification of organic compounds has provided a major stimulus to the study of these molecular fossils.

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