Thomas Tütken

ThomasTutkenI am based in the Institute of Geosciences at Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz.

I use isotope systems (C, O, Ca, Sr, Nd, Lu-Hf) in fossil bones and teeth to infer their diet, body temperature, mobility and age. For such geochemical investigations it is crucial to monitor the chemical changes resulting from the fossilisation. Tooth enamel is the tissue with the best preservation potential for the original biogenic isotope compositions even over millions of years while bone seems to behave as an open system.

The chemical, mineralogical and histological changes in fossil skeletal remains during diagenesis themselves are a valuable source of information in their own right. They enable us to characterise and quantify the post-mortem history, diagenetic milieu, taphonomic processes and the timing of fossilisation and hence to what extent the original chemical information stored in the bioapatite and the biomolecules has been altered or retained.

As geochemist and palaeontologist my main research focus is on the isotope geochemistry of skeletal remains of fossil vertebrates of various taxa such as dinosaurs, mammals, sharks and others. I pursue my research in interdisciplinary research contexts with colleagues from different fields such as geochemistry, palaeontology, archaeology, anthropology, material sciences and animal nutrition.

My role in ARAMACC is as co-supervisor of the WP4 projects based at Mainz, “Trace element incorporation into shells” (with ARAiMACC researcher Liqiang Zhao) and “Exploring the potential of shell crystal fabrics as novel environmental proxies” (with ARAMACC researcher Stefania Milano)