Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Fossil

  • Emmanuelle J. JavauxEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_590-4

Definition

A fossil is the preserved remnant of an organism after its death. A fossil may be morphological or chemical. A fossil can have various sizes (microscopic to macroscopic) and composition (organic or mineral) and may represent a whole organism, part of an organism, colonial organisms, or the morphological or chemical imprint of an organism or of its activity. The processes of fossilization are complex, and they may lead to the preservation of organisms in their original composition or partially or be completely replaced by another (organic or mineral) material or preserved as a mold or cast or as traces of activity such as footprints, trails, or burrows (“ichnofossil”).

See Also

Keywords

Bioorganic Chemistry Original Composition Colonial Organism Preserve Remnant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geology Department, Palaeobiogeology-Palaeobotany-PalaeopalynologyUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgique