Fossil teeth are primary tools in the study of vertebrate evolution, but standard imaging modalities have not been capable of providing high-quality images in dentin, the main component of teeth, owing to small refractive index differences in the fossilized dentin. Our first attempt to use third-harmonic generation (THG) microscopy in fossil teeth has yielded significant submicrometer level anatomy, with an unexpectedly strong signal contrasting fossilized tubules from the surrounding dentin. Comparison between fossilized and extant teeth of crocodilians reveals a consistent evolutionary signature through time, indicating the great significance of THG microscopy in the evolutionary studies of dental anatomy in fossil teeth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics