Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

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

Fossilization, Process of

  • Karim BenzeraraEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_591-3

Definition

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.

Overview

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...

Keywords

Biomineralization Diagenesis Taphonomy 
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References and Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Minéralogie et de Physique des Milieux Condensés, UMR 7590CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie & Institut de Physique du Globe de ParisParisFrance