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Definition of fossilization

Definition of fossilization

Fossils are the ashes, traces and imprints of life preserved in the Earth’s Crust. The word comes from the Latin ‘fossilis’ and means “Objects which are dug up from the ground”. The Chinese characters for ‘fossil’ means “objects formed from stone” but this may not necessarily be correct as there could be fossils which do not fit in this category.

Most fossils are formed from the stronger remaining parts of life. For example, calcium phosphate, which is contained in bone or enamel, which s found in teeth are elements which remain as fossils. Clams and others such as shellfish have CaCO3 contained in their shells which are the parts which become fossils. Foraminifera or such microfossils contain SiO4 and CaCO3 in their exoskeleton. Insects and other arthropods contain chitin in their shells which remain as fossils. However it is not only such firm parts which become fossils. It has been discovered that softer parts of living organisms can also become fossils. If the mollusca parts of living beings are in an environment where they are blocked from oxygen or have almost no water then they remain as fossils. In the case of plants the cellulose found in leaves or stems remain as fossils.

Paleontology research relating to the fossils which emerged during the geological age focuses on the research of how living beings were formed and which ones became extinct, as well as the relationship between living beings. This research plays an extremely important role.