Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Process of transformation of a living thing into substances that preserve the form and structure of the original as a fossil. Adjective: fossilized. Preservation is enhanced if an organism has been rapidly buried; weathering is thus minimized. Some fossils, however, are subject to further postmortem compaction, fragmentation, and other deforming processes such as expanding matrix distortion.

See diagenesis, permineralization, and taphonomy.

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