EES 106-02

Minerals and Rocks


  • tangible remains or signs of ancient organisms
  • found in sedimentary rocks or sediments, especially marine sediments
  • thousands to millions of years old
  • most fossils are hard parts of organism
    • teeth, skeleton
  • crinoid: “sea lily” fossil
  • hard parts may be completely replaced by minerals
  • fossilization of soft parts is rare
    • requires oxygen poor environment
    • burial in fine-grained sediment
  • fossil octopus


  • infilling of woody tissue  by inorganic materials
  • petrified wood
  • fossil need not be skeletal
  • mold
    • 3d negative imprint (brachiopod fossils)
  • impressions
    • 2d preservation of outlines and surface features
  • carbonization
    • concentrated residue of remaining carbon
  • trace fossils
    • tracks
    • trails
    • burrows
  • provides behavioral information about extinct animals
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