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9: Taphonomy - The Science of Death and Decay

  • Page ID
    22421
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    Isotelus maximus fossil, Upper Ordovician, Oldenburg, Indiana, USA (Wikimedia Commons) Modified by Callan Bentley

    Taphonomy is the subdiscipline of paleontology related to the processes of fossilization. This includes all things that happen to the remains of an organism after it dies until it is observed or collected by a geoscientist. This might include the decay of soft tissues, the separation of skeletal hard parts, and chemical changes to the organism after burial. By studying these processes, we can also uncover clues about the environment in which the organism lived, died, and was preserved.


    This page titled 9: Taphonomy - The Science of Death and Decay is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Callan Bentley, Karen Layou, Russ Kohrs, Shelley Jaye, Matt Affolter, and Brian Ricketts (VIVA, the Virginia Library Consortium) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.