Fossilization, Process of
Fossilization refers to the processes leading to the preservation of traces of life in the geological record. While metazoans and single-cell eukaryotes leave undisputed traces in the geological record in the form of hard mineral parts, the fossilization of microorganisms such as Bacteria or Archaea or of viruses has long been debated due in particular to the difficulty to recognize unambiguously such fossils in old rocks. Biomineralization controlled or induced by microorganisms themselves seems to be a major process allowing preservation of cell structures and/or of organic molecules.
The three domains of life can, in principle, be preserved as microfossils, depending on the conditions of preservation and their original composition. Most fossils in the Phanerozoic are made of hard mineral parts or imprints of hard mineral parts of metazoans or eukaryote unicellular organisms (e.g., diatoms, foraminifers). However, we focus here on processes of fossilization of...
KeywordsBiomineralization Diagenesis Taphonomy
References and Further Reading
- Allison PA (1988) The role of anoxia in the decay and mineralization of proteinaceous macro-fossils. Paleobiology 14:139–154Google Scholar
- Sangely L, Chaussidon M, Michels R, Brouand M, Cuney M, Huault V, Landais P (2007) Micrometer scale carbon isotopic study of bitumen associated with Athabasca uranium deposits: constraints on the genetic relationship with petroleum source-rocks and the abiogenic origin hypothesis. Earth Planet Sci Lett 258:378–396ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar