Bengtson, Stefan Invertebrate Fossils, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleozoology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Sepkoski, J. John, Jr. Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:January 2021
- Shells and skeletons
- Exceptional preservation
- Time indicators
- Environmental indicators
- Global importance
- Fossil record
- Overview of Phanerozoic record
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A record of earlier life buried in rock. Originally meaning any distinctive object that has been dug up (from Latin fodio, dig), the term “fossil” soon came to refer particularly to things resembling animals and plants. These objects were known before it was recognized that life on Earth has a long history. They were generally interpreted as having somehow grown in the rock or been placed there by a creator, or as being remains of organisms living somewhere else at the time in undiscovered seclusion. See also: Paleobotany; Paleontology
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