Seen with the naked eye the fossilized seashells looked white, but under the UV light they revealed their true colors.
The seashells have been in the ground for millions of years, safe from sun, water, sand and wind.
Although the human eye does not have the capacity to see into the UV range, thanks to modern technology, the scientists were able to use special tools, like ultraviolet cameras, that can detect and show the wavelength of UV light so that they can be seen by anyone.
Scientists have been using ultraviolet cameras for paleontology discoveries for some time. These cameras can be used to identify different fossils, such as feather remains that are stuck to fossilized dinosaurs bones.
A geologist wanted to see what the prehistoric seashells looked like using the ultraviolet cameras.
These seashells were unearthed in the Dominican Republic and have lost their colors after millions of years have passed over them.
These fossils are between 4.8 and 6.8 million years and scientist found it very difficult to identify them because they all look similar, after losing their coloration.
Modern cone snails have colored patterns which make it easier for the marine biologists to tell a species from another. Without these unique patterns and colors, it’s quite hard for the researchers to identify the prehistoric seashells.
But according to scientists, these ancient cone snails have kept some of their unique patterns, it’s just that they cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Jonathan Hendricks, a geologist from San Jose State University, had an idea: to bathe the fossils in ultraviolet light and see what happens. The results were amazing, according to Hendricks.
He exposed more than 350 seashells to the UV light, which revealed a beautiful array of patterns and colors.
Hendricks explained that using the UV light made it easy for the researchers to classify the fossils. The prehistoric seashells were classified based on their patterns and colors.
The ultraviolet light also revealed some unfamiliar patterns which means that some of the fossils belonged to unknown species.
Image Source: techtimes