Taphonomy: Definition

  • Soren BlauEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_132-2

The term taphonomy (from the Greek taphos-τάφος meaning burial and nomos-νόμος meaning law) is defined as the study of the transition of plant and animal organisms after death from the biosphere (living surfaces) to the lithosphere (underground). Taphonomists study processes such as decomposition or burial that affect organisms after death and which ultimately result in animals and plants becoming part of the fossil record.

Cross-References

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine / Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Soren Blau
    • 1
  • Luis Fondebrider
    • 2
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine / Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA