Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Fossilization is the process that involves non-living, which enable the remains of formerly living creature to be preserved after its death and following burial under sediment. This process only takes place in present of certain conditions or factors and these factors play a role in preserving the fossils. The process depends on chemistry of the environment and the biochemical makeup of the organism. Therefore because different organisms are made of different bio-chemical makeup not all organisms may be fossilised thus few in many organisms are fossilised.

The hard parts of dead animals are usually preserved as fossils; this includes shells, bones and teeth. The process begins with the dead of plants and animals. After they died, they are buried on the ground. The soft body parts decay and rot after death and the process is carried out by bacteria and scavengers. Different processes are involved in fossilization of plants and recrystalization. The body is buried under more and more layers of sediments overtime. Hard body parts are replaced by new minerals such as calcite or quartz or pyrite and this process is known as petrification. Sediments are further compacted further again by the weight of rocks above. At later stage the rocks are pushed up to form mountains fossils may be seen at later stage after million of years when the rocks are worn down to reveal the fossil.

Fossils are important as they allow the scientist called palaeontologists to find more information about biological organisms that existed in a period of time that predates our own. Knowing something about the kind of ancient life and the environment that existed long ago can tell us how Life become accustomed but also how the climate changes. Therefore by knowing something about the past we may be able to make a more informed prediction about what could happen in the future.

Fossils can also just tell us great stories about what was happening millions of years ago. For example fossilized footprints of a heard of dinosaurs running from danger or how they may have cared for their young. Discoveries of fossilised nests and eggs can tell us how they may have lived. The fossils are also important to tell more about the sizes and structure of organisms that existed in a period of time. These also help to understand the species that evolved longer than the other.

Currently, Fossils are also potentially economically. Quite big business, either directly by people finding examples and selling them or the industries like movies makes millions of dollars based on stories that come from fossil discoveries.


1. Fossilization, [internet] [cited 2006 may 5]. Available from:

2. Fossilization, [internet] [cited 2006 may 5]. Available from:

Mr Lufuno Mukwevho
CSIR Pretoria
P.O. Box 395
Tel: (012) 841 2133
Fax: 012 842 7024.
Cell: 0723175626
Email: lmukwevho@csir.co.za
My bloger URL: http://mukwevholufuno.blogspot.com


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