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Fossilization

Unbelievers will turn to the fossil record as supposed evidence supporting evolutionary thought but there is a problem with their use of that record. It is not an exact record, it is very incomplete and no one knows which fossil came first or as we like to put it, which one is the mother and which fossil is the offspring. This classification is pure guesswork since no one has ever observed, replicated or recorded the fossilization of species taking place in any order.

Then the fact that fossilization is very rare and does not take place in every part of the world, the appeal to the fossil record loses any authority as it does not retain 100% of the history of the world or its actual development.  Fossils record one event, the fact that the species lived and died at one point in time. Anything else is read into the fossil from biased and unobjective people.

What follows will be a list of different excerpts and their links concerning the process and definition of fossils and fossilization.
 

1. FOSSILIZA´TION, n. The act or process of converting into a fossil or petrifaction

Webster, N. (2006). Noah Webster’s first edition of An American dictionary of the English language. Anaheim, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education.
 

2. Explanation of “Missing Links.” Although the failure to find “missing links” has disappointed evolutionists, few have given up the theory for lack of them. Rather, they respond in various ways:

Some transitional fossils exist to support evolution, so perhaps others will be found. Horse fossils are cited as an example of an existing fossil series.

    A tiny fraction of all the animals that ever lived have been preserved in fossils. And only a very small fraction of all fossils have been unearthed. So, we should not expect that many “missing links” will be found.

    By their nature transitional fossils were few. This adds to their rarity.

    Many species had soft parts that perished easily and would not have been preserved.

    Many evolutionists favor a view called “punctuated equilibrium,” which contends that evolution occurred more rapidly than previously thought. There are leaps in the fossil record. Evolution, they claim, is more like a ball bouncing up a staircase than one rolling up a hill.

Geisler, N. L. (1999). In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (pp. 488–489). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 

3. How to Make a Fossil

  The requirements for fossil formation are not too complex. It is not enough that the mere death of a creature could form it into a fossil. Many fish, for instance, have died almost at the same instant, due to a change in salinity or oxygen content of the water. Bodies of hundreds, if not thousands, of fish have been seen floating on the surface of creeks. Yet these did not become fossils. Crabs and gulls consumed most of them. What was left the minnows ate. And the remainder decomposed. This is the normal course of events. It is a far cry from the formation of beds of fossil fish.

  Two basic requirements must be met to produce fossils. First, the rapid death of many creatures. Second,

  equally rapid preservation of their bodies, more or less intact. In many instances — the dinosaurs for example — death occurred, but burial was somewhat delayed. Burial came only after the flesh decomposed, leaving only the bones. In other cases, immediately upon the death of the creature it was frozen. The mammoths, elephants and rhinoceroses of Siberia were frozen so rapidly that in some cases the flesh, when thawed, was edible! Grasses and flowers upon which the animals were feeding were found undigested in their stomachs. Buttercups, still yellow, were found in the mouth of at least one mammoth. Red blood cells of these animals, still preserved, were examined and the cause of death determined to be suffocation, either by poisonous gases or by water. In every case, creatures which were fossilized met a sudden, catastrophic death and were preserved by burial, freezing or other equally catastrophic means. The rapidity of death is attested to not only by the food in the mammoths’ mouths and stomachs but also by the fact that frequently shellfish died with their valves (shells) closed! Normally, when a clam, mussel or oyster dies, its shell opens. Yet many such creatures have been fossilized with their shells closed.

  What could have caused these deaths? That the cause was catastrophic is becoming more and more evident. Sediments the world over display layering which could only be caused by moving water. Slow, gradual accumulation of silt and debris on the ocean floor is inadequate to explain the formation of fossils. Fossils are not now being formed. Even those paleontologists who favor a slow, gradual evolution are being forced to recognize the role of catastrophe in fossil formation. The editor of Nature magazine wrote in 1984 that

      ...it is proper to acknowledge that the intellectual climate has changed in favour of catastrophism... (Maddox 1984: 685).

(1997). Bible and Spade (1997), 10, 71–72.
 

4. Roots

  Much of their warfare is, in a sense, fought underground, in the geologic column, where hundreds of thousands of different fossil species have been found. In the lowest level, the Precambrian, fossils are rare and their authenticity often debated. Most fossils are found in the overlying Phanerozoic level, which forms about two-thirds of the total volume of sediments. Human fossils exist only in the upper part of this level. The main conflict between science and Scripture is over how this column is to be interpreted.

  The creationist believes that the fossils represent remains of life-types created by God during creation week and buried by the Genesis flood. Factors involve (1) an original, well-ordered, unique ecology buried by gradually rising waters; (2) sorting by water current; (3) faster motility of larger organisms; and (4) sorting in water by density. The evolutionist believes that the column resulted from a naturalistic evolutionary theory while usually preserving God’s involvement in the process.

(1994). Bible and Spade (1994), 7, 10.
 

5. Fossils-- http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fossilrecord/fossilization/fossilization.htm

The term “fossil” is used for any trace of past life. Fossils are not only the actual remains of organisms, such as teeth, bones, shell, and leaves (body fossils), but also the results of their activity, such as burrows and foot prints (trace fossils), and organic compounds they produce by biochemical processes (chemical fossils). Occasionally, inorganically produced structures may be confused with traces of life, such as dendrites. These are called pseudofossils. The definitions below explain the types of fossils found in the context of fossilization processes. You will find there is some overlaps in the terminology commonly used in paleontology and geology.

Body Fossils

The processes of fossilization are complex with many stages from burial to discovery as a fossil. Organisms with hard parts such as a mineralized shell, like a trilobite or ammonite, are much more likely to become fossilized than animals with only soft parts such as a jellyfish or worms. Body fossils of plants and animals almost always consist only of the skeletonized or toughened parts because soft tissues are destroyed by decay or by scavengers. Even hard parts can be destroyed by natural processes such as wave action or can be eaten or destroyed by other organisms like fungi and algae. Many species of plant and animal fossils are known only from their fragments.

The remains of an organism that survive natural biological and physical processes must then become quickly buried by sediments. The probability for an organism to become fossilized increases if it already lives in the sediment , and those on the sea floor are more readily fossilized than those floating or swimming above it. Catastrophic burial with a rapid influx of sediment is necessary to preserve delicate complete animals such as crinoids or starfish. This explains why most crinoids, for example, are found only as stem pieces. Since crinoids were not usually buried quickly, their hard stem parts are far more frequently found as fossils. Observations of rare living crinoids have shown that they will rapidly disarticulate within a few days of death. Rapid burial, in contrast, prevents this disintegration, and thus explains a few localities where beds of delicate crinoids, starfish and brittle stars are preserved in their entirety. Thus many factors affect of chances for fossilization.

The common processes occurring after burial include chemical alteration or replacement and compaction. Most marine invertebrates have calcareous skeletons containing calcium carbonate (CaCo3) that occurs in one on two crystal forms, calcite or aragonite. Aragonite is comparatively unstable and will convert to calcite or dissolve over time. As a result, aragonite becomes progressively rarer in older rocks. If the calcite or aragonite is dissolved away the result is a fossil being preserved as a mold or cast. In contrast, the original calcite or aragonite might be replaced with other minerals such as silica or pyrite or a similar iron-containing mineral called hematite. Calcium phosphate is another important, but less common, skeletal material occurring in some arthropods, inarticulate brachiopods and conodonts. Apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral, is also found in bones and teeth of vertebrates. These are the most common replacement minerals other than calcite.
 

6. Fossilization--  http://www.acad.carleton.edu/curricular/BIOL/classes/bio302/pages/FossilizationHome.html

The process of fossilization is called taphonomy. There are three main components. First, there is the death of the organism. Then, there are certain processes that can happen to the organism before it is buried. These processes can include body decay due to natural elements such as wind, water or attack from predators. Finally, there are certain processes that occur after the organism's body is buried. These processes result in the different categories of fossils…

How do fossils form?

There are many ways fossils can be formed including permineralization, freezing, compression, and entrapment by amber. (See informational links.) Methods of fossilization often involve rapid burial in such a way that predators and erosional effects are eliminated. This allows for preservation of the body parts or trace evidence. Below are some examples.

Permineralization is a major method that involves the hardening of minerals that have entered the small pores and cavities of dead organisms. As hard water (water containing minerals) enter these pores, minerals are deposited and, under high pressures, becomes solid.

Natural molds and casts form when the hard parts (such as shells) are buried in sediment leaving behind an impression of its shape. If the interior of the shell were to be filled with sediment that hardened, an internal mold would be created. However, if the shell should dissolve away over the years, it will leave behind a mold of the shell (external mold).

How is fossilization dependent upon the environment?

The environment plays a crucial role in an organisms ability to fossilize. The best scenario would be in which an organism is buried at the bottom of a lake where it is then covered by a lot of sediment. In this type of environment, the organism is protected from other animals and natural elements that would cause the body's breakdown. It is crucial that the body be in an environment that allows for rapid burial. Areas in which there is a high rate of sediment deposition is ideal because of the presence of minerals and the increase of pressure…

What does fossilization tell us about the fossil record?

The fossil record does not represent all of the living things once found on Earth. The reason for this is because not all organisms have correct properties that allow for fossilization. Some organisms may have decayed before fossilization could begin. Organisms that live on land or have soft body parts are less likely to fossilize than those that live in water or have hard body parts. Therefore, the fossil record can only provide a piece of Earth's history…
 

7. What are the odds of a dead dinosaur becoming fossilized?-- http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-the-odds-of-a-de/

Paleontologist Gregory M. Erickson of Florida State University explains.

It is often stated in the paleontological literature that the chance an animal will become fossilized is "one in a million." This number is meant to be taken figuratively, the point being that the odds of surviving the rigors of deep time are extremely remote. Nevertheless, all field paleontologists know that the earth is biased when it comes to giving up its dead--the odds of an animal being preserved and consequently exhumed are much greater in some settings than others.

Studies by taphonomists (paleontologists who study the transition of animals from the biosphere to the lithosphere; taphonomy literally means "burial laws") have shown that organisms that die on land in lush jungle locales are rarely fossilized. In these settings, there is little chance of being buried, scavenging vertebrates and insects are prevalent, bacteria that break down flesh and bones are abundant, and the soils are extremely acidic and tend to dissolve bones. As a result, remains of dinosaurs from such former surroundings are practically nonexistent. Conversely, dinosaurs are commonly found in areas that were once fluvial settings and in regions of extreme aridity. In the former case, it is clear that dinosaur remains were rapidly buried before substantial scavenging could take place.
 

8. Fossilization 2-- http://petrifiedwoodmuseum.org/FossilTypes.htm

The word fossil is derived from the Latin fossilis, which means "dug up". Initially, the term fossil applied to any strange or interesting material found within rock whether or not it was of organic origin (Prothero, 2004, p. 5). Most modern definitions include the concept that fossils are evidence of ancient organisms, which have become a part of the Earth’s crust. The word ancient is arbitrary. To some ancient applies only to extinct organisms while to others it implies time limits. Grimaldi and Engel (2005) point out that many would like to restrict the term fossil to species that have become naturally extinct. They argue that having this knowledge is problematic. Grimaldi and Engel suggest the following practical definition, "...a fossil is the remains or workings of any species, living or extinct, that have been naturally preserved for several thousand years or more (p. 62). A more common time limit defines fossils as being prehistoric thus; fossils preserve remains or activities of ancient organisms older than 10,000 years (Garcia & Miller, 1998, p. 14; Schopf, 1975, p. 27)…

A Fossil represents evidence of past life that is found in the Earth’s crust. Taphonomy ("laws of burial") is the term used to describe the process that results in the formation of a fossil. Taphonomy or the transition of an organism or part of an organism from the biosphere to the lithosphere is accomplished in basically two steps. The process of burial or entombment is referred to as biostratinomy. After burial or entombment, diagenesis begins; the conversion of sediments or other deposits to rock. Biostratinomic and diagenetic processes destroy most traces of organisms. The extent of preservation depends upon what happens during biostratinomy and diagenesis…

Fossilization often occurs as a result of rapid burial, usually by water-borne sediment, followed by chemical alteration. Rapid burial and specific chemical environments help to reduce decomposition from bacteria and fungi. Decomposition, erosion, deposition and rock formation are processes that often destroy soft tissue, so it is the hard parts of organisms such as shells, bones and teeth, which are most often preserved. Occasionally conditions exist that allow for preservation of organisms in environments that rarely produce fossils. Exceptional conditions may also help to preserve soft tissue or impression of soft body parts…
 

8. Fossils 2

  Fossils, remains of formerly living things, present a more difficult problem. With only the skeletons or other remains (such as footprints) with which to work, lacking observation of the living creature, taxonomists have a harder job to do. Yet even among the fossils the basic differences are readily noted. There are, however, two major differences between the fossil world and the living world. These two major distinctions of the fossils compared to living things are extinction and stasis.

    Were one to be transported, after living in the Carboniferous, for instance, into today’s world, he would likely be surprised at the absence of many familiar types. “Where are all the dinosaurs?” “Where are all the ferns?” “Where are all the tigers?” would be his questions. Many more plants and animals existed in the past than are present today.

  Yet the fossilized creatures we see in rocks have much the same characteristics as living forms. Many have disappeared, but the ones that remain are very much like the fossilized forms. Jellyfish from the Ordovician, for example, are just like living jellyfish today. Clams from the Cambrian are like clams we eat today. Bats, long fossilized, are just like the bats flying each evening to catch their meal of insects. And so it goes. This situation is termed stasis, meaning it stayed the same. Far from indicating slow gradual evolution of one type from another, the fossil record is graphic evidence of creation. The creatures of the past are the same as creatures alive today! The absence of transitional forms, the stasis of fossil and living forms, is one of the most telling evidences of creation.

  The Cambrian “explosion of life” is in perfect harmony with the concept of creation. The abrupt appearance of every phylum of animals in the Cambrian, with no apparent ancestors leading up to them, is powerful evidence of creation. Basic kinds of plants and animals have not changed; some died out, but the others are still with us.

(1999). Bible and Spade (1999), 12, 59–60.
 

9. Collecting Fossil--http://www.collectingfossils.org/fossilrecord.htm

it is really pretty hard for any given organism to become a fossil. Moreover, while such things as where you were of the food chain, how fast you were, your size, being soft or crunchy, etc., would have a bearing on the probability of becoming a fossils, but there are exceptions to all the above. Fossil formation can occur through a number of processes, each of which is chemically complex, and not completely understood. There is no realistic way to simulate in a laboratory the processes that take place over thousands to millions of years on and in the water and earth that results in the formation of a fossil.

The unlikelihood of fossilization results in large gaps in the fossil record. Creationists like to use these gaps to argue against evolution and promulgate supernatural views. Darwin particularly worried about the absence of Precambrian fossils that had not yet been discovered during his time. They have since been found, but not many, and they are found in very few localities, since Precambrian animals were simple, small and soft-bodied, and perhaps not very abundant, the Precambrian fossil record is indeed sparce.
 

10 Fossil Formation: The Work of Ages-- http://www.fossils-facts-and-finds.com/fossil_formation.html

When it comes to fossil formation Permineralization is the most common process for preserving ancient plant and animal material. Common is a relative term when used in regards to fossils. Though there are millions of fossils that have been discovered and millions more waiting to be discovered, fossilization is a rare occurrence.

Fossil Formation Is A Rare Occurence

There have been untold billions of creatures that have lived on the planet during the last 550 million years. When conditions on Earth caused mass extinctions, literally thousands, perhaps hundreds-of-thousands of species went extinct. For these species to be preserved, a series of truly fortunate events had to have occurred. If even one of these events failed, that animal or species would never be seen by modern eyes.

Nature Recycles

Because of this, fossilization is actually a rare occurrence. It goes against the laws of nature that favor recycling. Just about everything that exists naturally on the planet, animals, plants, rocks and minerals, are designed to be reused or reformed to support some other species or life-form.

Food For Thought

Let’s narrow it down to animal species for a moment. All animals are designed to be someone else’s lunch. All parts, even the leftover bones, can be consumed by one species or another…right down to the bacteria that decomposes the sturdiest bones and shells. This makes a very bad situation for the formation of fossils. Since every part is designed to be gobbled up, the fossilization process has to happen before someone or something gets a hold of the food!
 

11 Fossilization causes organisms to appear erroneously primitive by distorting evolutionary trees--http://www.nature.com/articles/srep02545

As to questions concerning major clade originations and transitions, fossils are the only source of direct evidence; they document historical sequences of character change and bridge morphological gaps within extinct branches of the tree of life5 (for example, how did fish evolve into tetrapods or dinosaurs evolve wings?). Modern taxa are distant from these transitions meaning that long evolutionary histories and large gaps exist between them and their ancient cladogeneses. Extinct taxa proximate to those events and enable reconstruction of morphological changes and transitions during these historic events. In order to address deep macroevolutionary questions, it therefore becomes vitally important to place fossils accurately within phylogenies. Without this, molecular clocks will be incorrectly calibrated, morphological sequences of change will be oversimplified, and our understanding of evolutionary processes will be flawed…

The large amount of missing data afflicting fossils need not represent a problem in itself. The introduction of missing data entries into simulated data rarely obfuscates the phylogenetic placement of taxa in simulations10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18. The amount and quality of data that are available is usually much more important, although the situation can be more complex in some likelihood frameworks19,20. Missing data in the fossil record are, however, fundamentally non-random – it is both structured, and systematically distributed. Concentrating missing data entries in simulated taxa14 or characters15 can mimic some of the effects of fossilisation; simulations, however, oversimplify reality because their characters are effectively independent and they cannot take account of the markedly different preservation potentials of different tissue types…

Fossil taxa have, by definition, already been subjected to character preservation biases. As such, it is difficult to test the above hypotheses using palaeontological data. Our solution is to apply hypothetical fossilization filters to data from extant clades. Using this approach, it is possible to compare the effects of simulated fossilization (systematic removal of soft non-biomineralized characters), with the effects of the random removal of the same number of characters. Tests were applied to 78 phylogenetic data matrices of disparate vertebrate and invertebrate clades, representing over 2000 taxa.
 

12 Fossil 3--http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Fossil

Fossils (from Latin fossus, literally "having been dug up") are the mineralized or otherwise preserved remains or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms. The totality of fossils and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record. Paleontology is the study of the developing history of life on Earth, of ancient plants and animals, based on the fossil record.

Fossils usually consist of traces of the remains of the organism itself. However, fossils may also consist of the marks left behind by the organism while it was alive, such as the footprints or feces of a dinosaur or reptile. These types of fossil are called trace fossils…

Fossilization is actually a rare occurrence because organic materials tend to decompose. Fossilization requires the relatively quick preservation of bodily remains. Normally, the remains need to be covered by sediment or trapped in resin as soon as possible. However there are exceptions to this, such as if an organism comes to rest in an anoxic (without oxygen) environment at the bottom of a lake.

It stands to reason that greater numbers of fossils will be found involving big organisms with hard body parts, species that were widespread, and species that were in existence for a long time. Small, soft bodied organisms living in localized areas and belonging to species that had a short existence are difficult sources of fossils. Geological processes such as erosion and subduction also destroy many fossils. For such reasons, fossils are somewhat rare
 

13 Fossil and Fossilization - From Biosphere To Lithosphere--http://science.jrank.org/pages/2843/Fossil-Fossilization-From-biosphere-lithosphere.html#ixzz3uFMjpRPp

The likelihood that any living organism will become a fossil is quite low. The path from biosphere to lithosphere—from the organic, living world to the world of rock and mineral—is long and indirect. Individuals and even entire species may be 'snatched' from the record at any point. If an individual is successfully fossilized and enters the lithosphere, ongoing tectonic activity may stretch, abrade, or pulverize the fossil, or the sedimentary layer housing the fossil may eventually be subjected to high temperatures in Earth's interior and melt, or be weathered away at the Earth's surface. A fossil that has survived or avoided these events may succumb to improper collection techniques at the hands of a human…

Fossilization involves replacement of minerals and chemicals by predictable chemical means. For example, the shells of molluscs are made of calcium carbonate, which typically remineralizes to calcite or aragonite. The bones of most vertebrates are made of calcium phosphate, which undergoes subtle changes that increase the phosphate content, while cement fills in the pores in the bones. These bones may also be replaced by silica…

Because of the nature of fossilization, fossils are often said to exist in communities. A fossil community is defined by space, not time. Previously fossilized specimens of great age may be swept by river action or carried by scavengers into young sediments that are just forming, there to join the fossil mix. For this reason, it may be difficult to date a fossil with precision on the basis of a presumed association with nearby fossils. Nevertheless, geologists hope to confirm relationships among once living communities by comparing the makeup of fossil communities.
 

14 Fossilization 3--http://creationwiki.org/Fossilization

Fossilization is the process by which plant and animal remains are preserved in sedimentary rock. The Earth is covered in layers of fossils, and this record of history helps us understand what types of organisms that lived in the distant past (i.e. before the flood of Noah).

The study of how living organisms become fossilized in known as taphonomy (Greek for "laws of burial"). Under normal conditions, fossilization will rarely take place, and may best be explained through flood geology mechanisms. Nevertheless, there are two main beliefs regarding the formation of sedimentary rock that contain fossils…

For fossilization to occur, certain conditions must be met. It can only happen after death and normally only affects hard tissues such as shells and bones. In the global cataclysm, organisms that became fossils died either before or after they were buried in the flood sediments. Immediately after death, an organism experiences necrolysis (the decay and breakup up of the organism). Under normal circumstances today the organism suffers destruction by three primary agents--biological, mechanical and chemical (diagenesis)—both before and after they are buried.

Some organism were buried intact quickly and their remains are the best preserved. Others, were buried after they had suffered some decay and breakup. Their remains are usually found in beds of jumbled bone of all types and different species.

    The organism must be buried quickly. For this to happen, the organism normally must die in abnormal conditions such as in a flood, volcano eruption or an earthquake. Otherwise it is near impossible for an animal to be preserved;

    The organism must be kept from normal decay. If the animal is exposed to oxygen or bacteria, they will quickly start to decay;

    The organism must be buried in matter that is leached with mineral-rich waters where carbonates are precipitating. These minerals will replace the original tissue, so that a stone remains in the shape of the original tissue.

From all these examples, a general trend emerges. The best fossilization occurs when there is rapid burial and anoxic conditions to prevent scavenging, no reworking by currents, and diagentic alteration which preserves a fossil rather than destroy it. These conditions are what is expected in models of the Flood.
 

15 Soft Tissue Fossilization-- https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/how-are-fossils-formed/soft-tissue-fossilization/

Fossilization occurs rapidly when the conditions are right. The conditions necessary for lithification of soft tissue give clues to unlock the history of a fossil deposit. Experiments show that microbes are involved in the mineralization of soft tissue. By decaying flesh they affect the acidity of the environment and release ions necessary for its mineralization. Fossilization in apatite seems to require associated death and decay.

In the Jurassic Oxford Clay Formation in England, apatite preserved the soft tissue of many squid-like animals, probably after a mass mortality event occurred in a zone of already high phosphate levels from decaying carcasses. Apatite has also preserved gelatinous embryonic cells that deteriorate in hours. The presence of these microscopic fossils in mud rock gives clues about the conditions in which the sediments were deposited and lithified.

Broken shells and sand grains, found in shale that contain soft tissue fossilized in illite, have led some researchers to conclude that the creatures were buried quickly in pulses of a dense mud flow. Soft tissue fossilization points to unusual conditions, conditions that are what would be expected in the sudden, extensive destruction of life, as recorded in the Genesis account of the worldwide Flood.

The process of fossilization has been thought of as being a long drawn out process of mineral replacement taking millions of years. In 1989 David Martill challenged this belief in his journal article, “The Medusa Effect: Instantaneous Fossilization.”1 He said that for a few fish whose gills were mineralized in apatite, “lithification was instantaneous and fossilization may have even been the cause of death.”2 The fossilization process can be quick, and often must be. The time required for fossilization fits well within the biblical time frame of an approximately 6000-year-old earth.

Are the conditions necessary for soft tissue fossilization those that would be expected as a consequence of the worldwide Flood? What happens to a creature to bring about the fossilization of its soft tissue? The processes that affect an organism from its death to its discovery in the fossil record are called its taphonomy. An understanding of taphonomy requires knowledge from biology, chemistry, and the earth sciences.

Decay experiments are done using the carcasses of creatures living today that are similar to fossilized ones. Some animal tissues, such as bones and teeth, are chemically less susceptible to decay. Other tissues, muscle for example, decay very quickly, yet their form can be found preserved in intricate detail in rock. The results of these decay experiments show how a carcass changes through various stages of deterioration.

Paleontologists use this information to interpret the fossil record. To understand the taphonomy of these exquisite fossils, one must also understand the chemical and biological processes that quickly precipitated minerals in and around soft tissue. Experiments try to duplicate this fossilization process to determine the controls on tissue mineralization. The results give clues about the conditions when the fossils were formed. Some taphonomic studies read like a forensic medicine report, giving evidence of the circumstances and cause of death of the fossilized creature.

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