A piece of black shale embedded with golden-hued fossils.

It was long thought that pyrite — a shiny mineral also known as fool’s gold — was the special ingredient that gave fossils embedded in Germany’s Posidonia Shale their golden glow. But now scientists think something else is causing these fossils to shimmer.

Earlier this year, a team of international researchers visited the Early Jurassic site known for its exceptionally well-preserved fossils of marine animals. They collected dozens of samples of fossilized ammonites, bivalves and crustaceans that were about palm-size or larger. 

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