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The study of fossil preservation, including all events during the transition of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Taphonomic factors can affect the integrity of bone, such as the amount of fragmentation and degree of preservation.
Although the presence of encrusting organisms offers little in terms of taxonomic information related to crinoids, encrustation represents an important paleoecological and taphonomic phenomenon, and one of the most useful indicators of paleoenvironmental parameters (Brett and Baird 1986; Parsons and Brett 1991).
Focusing on the taphonomic point of view, we need to take into account this species in future studies.
This species was not found in Dassemblage, and this suggests the action of taphonomic processes.
where S is a measure of surficial shell or cultch, b is the shell addition rate which is dependent on natural and disease mortality and population abundance, and x is the taphonomic loss rate.
In the world of archaeology and paleontology, taphonomic (or decomposition) studies allow us to understand how organic artifacts and in some cases human remains decompose over time.
In contrast, a pile of disarticulated bones is more problematic to interpret because the accumulated bone may be the result of natural taphonomic damage (such as bioturbation) or intentional (purposeful, anthropogenic) action.
The hard parts (skeletons) which usually undergo fossilization keep valuable information of biogenic processes, and the taphonomic characteristics supply data on the postmortem changes [1].
One of the salient dimensions of preservation error is taphonomic bias, which refers to the fact that deposits created long ago are likely to have been exposed to a greater cumulative hazard of destruction than younger deposits (Surovell and Brantingham, 2007; Surovell et al., 2009; Surovell and Pelton, 2016).
While methodological and taphonomic processes might be at play, Singleton points to the materiality of the wall and the ability to frame the contours of everyday life.
The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science degree at Wrexham Glyndwr has gone from strength to strength, and the course even has for Wales' only taphonomic facility, also known as a 'body farm.'.