Taphonomy (From the Greek word taphos [death]): The study of the process that takes an organism from a living being to a fossil. This includes events during the life of the organism, the transfer to fossilization, and the chemical transactions that take place during fossilization.

Citation: http://www.colby.edu/~ragastal/Taphonomy.htm

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One Response to Taphonomy

  1. Megan M. says:

    Aww – you had to go and find a dinosaur and put it on the anthropology website, eh? 🙂

    Good definition though. Archaeologists also use taphonomy to study non-fossils too – just to understand how animals and plants make their way into archaeological sites – often these are not fossilized. It’s important to understand what happens to these things after they die, so we can figure out what we are seeing on a dig site!

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