Acid Dissolution of Fossil Dinosaur Eggs
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Acid dissolution is a technique of removing a fossil from the surrounding rock matrix in which it is encased by dissolving that matrix with acid. Fossilized bone, though strong enough to be preserved for thousands or millions of years, is often more delicate than rock. Once a fossil is discovered, scientists must remove the fossil from its surroundings without damaging the fossil itself. Scientists have used chemicals to expose vertebrate fossils since the 1930s, and in the late 1990s Terry Manning, an amateur scientist and technician working in England, adapted the technology to dinosaur eggs. Manning used acid dissolution on dinosaur eggs to expose the embryos beneath the rock and fossil shell. Manning's acid dissolution enabled scientists to better study the remains of dinosaur embryos otherwise hidden beneath layers of eggshell and rock, revealing previously unrecorded aspects of dinosaur growth and development.