Definitions for trace fossil
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word trace fossil
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a fossilized track, trail, burrow, boring, or other structure in sedimentary rock that records the presence or behavior of the organism that made it.
A type of fossil reflecting the reworking of sediments and hard substrates by organisms, rather than the physical remains of the organism itself. This includes structures such as burrows, trails, impressions, coprolites and borings.
Trace fossils, also called ichnofossils, are geological records of biological activity. Trace fossils may be impressions made on the substrate by an organism: for example, burrows, borings, urolites, footprints and feeding marks, and root cavities. The term in its broadest sense also includes the remains of other organic material produced by an organism — for example coprolites or chemical markers — or sedimentological structures produced by biological means - for example, stromatolites. Trace fossils contrast with body fossils, which are the fossilized remains of parts of organisms' bodies, usually altered by later chemical activity or mineralization. Sedimentary structures, for example those produced by empty shells rolling along the sea floor, are not produced through the behaviour of an organism and not considered trace fossils. The study of traces is called ichnology, which is divided into paleoichnology, or the study of trace fossils, and neoichnology, the study of modern traces. This science is challenging, as most traces reflect the behaviour — not the biological affinity — of their makers. As such, trace fossils are categorised into form genera, based upon their appearance and the implied behaviour of their makers.
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