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Re: fossilization



>Tom Holtz referred the person who asked about fossilization processes
>to any elementary textbook on geology or paleontology to answer this question.
>I have found, however, that these books have one glaring error:  the speed
>at which they assume these processes occur.  My research has shown that
>secondary mineralization, remineralization, leaching of bone mineral, 
>and biologically-induced mineralization begin very rapidly after the bone
>is exposed to the environment.  If the bone is not buried or underwater 
>within 1-2 years of defleshing, it will literally become dust in the wind.

Bonnie Blackwell continues with some very important information on the
fossilization processes.

Another group of sources, albeit a technical source, is the literature on
taphonomy, the science of burial and fossilization.  The main thrust of
taphonomic research shows that, unless the corpse or bone is buried VERY
quickly, you will not have anthing to fossilize.  In some cases, it is even
faster than the 1-2 years mentioned above.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661
Phone:301-405-4084