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Re: insects

> Are insects fossilized the same way that dinosaurs are?
The quick answer is no.  Insects tend to have a chitin skeleton 
whereas the dinosaur has a carbonate - phosphate skeleton.  The 
processes involved in the fossilisation may allow the preservation of 
the cuticle of the insect (skeleton) as a little altered organic  
remain.  Sometimes the pore spaces within the cuticle will become 
filled with minerals such as clays, silica, calcite, or phosphate.  
This latter secondary mineralisation of the cuticle is similar to the 
way in which some dinosaur remains are preserved.  Many dinosaur 
bones have the bone carbonate replaced by a secondary, though early, 
phosphate as well as the secondary mineralisation of the pore spaces. 
 The taphonomy of fossil remains is a very complex subject that I can 
only hope to skim the surface of in a short email message.  I hope 
this gives you some idea of the broad issues involved though.


Neil Clark
Curator of Palaeontology
Hunterian Museum
University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ
email: NCLARK@museum.gla.ac.uk

'Man must surely have become an immensely worse animal 
than his teeth show him to have been designed for'
Hugh Miller (Cruise of the Betsey - 1858)