Taphonomy


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taphonomy

[tə′fän·ə·mē]
(paleontology)
The study of fossil preservation, including all events during the transition of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere.

Taphonomy

 

a branch of paleontology that deals with all processes in the formation of sites of fossil remains of organisms, including thanatocoenosis (the localized accumulation of remains of dead organisms), the movement of dead matter, taphocenosis, and petrifaction (also fossilization), which leads to the formation of oryctocenoses (the totality of petrified remains at a given site).

Taphonomy is significant in reconstructing paleobiocenoses and, from them, biocenoses, as well as the conditions under which the organisms lived and the processes of sediment accumulation in regions where fossil animals and plants are found. Data provided by taphonomy are important in understanding the reasons for the incomplete nature of geological records. The principles of taphonomy were developed between 1940 and 1957 by I. A. Efremov.

REFERENCE

Efremov, I. A. Tafonomiia i geologicheskaia letopis’, book 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950. (Tr. Paleontologicheskogo instituta AN SSSR, vol. 24.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Two articles in this issue explore burial treatment and taphonomy.
After the palaeontological study of fossil assemblages with special emphasis on the study of trace fossils and macroinvertebrate assemblages as well as the taphonomy of vertebrate remains, we present the following main conclusions:
The taphonomy and palaeoenvironmental implications of the small mammals from Karain Cave, Turkey.
The authors have organized the main body of their text in seven chapters devoted to an introduction and history of the upper Cretaceous collections to be found in private and public holding in the state of South Carolina, the geological and historical setting, collections sites, systematic paleontology, trace fossils, taphonomy and paleoecology, and the authorsAE conclusions.
REGIONAL TAPHONOMY IN COLD, WET CLIMATES: EFFECTS OF THE FREEZE/THAW CYCLE ON TAPHONOMIC CONDITION OF IMMERSED SKELETAL REMAINS**, Stephanie West*
1997): Holes and grooves: the contribution of microscopy and taphonomy to the problem of art origins, Journal of Human Evolution, 33 (1): 1-31.
2002: Mammalian taphonomy of the early Irvingtonian (late Pliocene) Inglis 1C fauna (Citrus County, Florida).