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The study of fossil preservation, including all events during the transition of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere.



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.


Efremov, I. A. Tafonomiia i geologicheskaia letopis’, book 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950. (Tr. Paleontologicheskogo instituta AN SSSR, vol. 24.)
References in periodicals archive ?
People have been looking at taphonomy for 20 or 30 years, but new information is always being discovered and published, which is our ultimate aim.
The taphonomy of a remarkable leaf bed assemblage from the Late Oligocene-Early Miocene Gore Lignite Measures, southern New Zealand.
Key words: carrion fauna, taphonomy, forensic entomology, cadaveric succession, Argentina.
Pajak said that it was Ann Marie Mires, a forensic anthropologist in the chief medical examiner's office, who provided an on-the-spot course in taphonomy - the study of the decay of human and other remains.
Bednarik, Robert G 2001 'The taphonomy of beeswax figures', Rock Art Research 18(2):91-5.
The Florissant formation's fossil beds and petrified forest are interesting in themselves but also shed light on questions of paleoecology, macroevolution, and taphonomy (the study of the process of fossilization).
Goodwin, "Pollen Taphonomy in Holocene Glaciolacustrine Sediments, Glacier Bay, Alaska: A Cautionary Note," PALAIOS 3 (1988): 606-11; G.
Oysters maintain their own habitat and this activity is dynamic as shell is continually added by natural mortality and degraded and lost through the process of taphonomy (Powell et al.
The main aim of the current research was to study factors that determine the distribution of fossil pigments and their taphonomy in surface sediments in four well-monitored Estonian lakes with different trophic status and topography.
As discussed, the taphonomy of these shell deposits varied from human and rodent selection to natural river deposition during periods of flooding.